Mardi Gras of the Pacific

When I booked my trip to Hawaii earlier this year I did it with little regard for the calendar specifics. My actual intent was to attend the Maui Comedy Festival which was scheduled for the Oct 30, Nov 1st and 2nd. At the time it seemed a bit odd but I didn’t think on it too much. Upon arriving in Maui, I began hearing tales of a great party. Lahaina hosts a yearly Halloween party and their tagline? The Mardi Gras of the Pacific.

It is a big claim to live up to. Granted I’ve never been to Mardi Gras Prime as it were but I know it’s a big deal.  Lahaina certainly is making a big effort. Front Street closes early in the day for the festivities. It starts innocently enough with a children’s parade, hundreds of kids dressed up having a ball. The stores along the shoreline all seem to get in the spirit. Restaurants put up decorations shops give out candy all pretty stand Halloween stuff.

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As the sun goes down the atmosphere changes. Adults take to the streets, upwards of 20,000 people on a few blocks. The bars were packed, the park hosted a DJ and even a pretty intense costume contest. The costumes range from simple masks to elaborate homemade get-ups: Iron Man, Witch Doctors, Rainbow bright, the list of truly incredible outfits goes on.

After walking the street a few times, enjoying the festivities I went to Pi Pizzeria and enjoyed a few drinks with the Maui Comedy Fest and the terrific funny people they had invited. The crowd was great and from Pi we could enjoy the bay, lit up with moonlight. It was surreal or maybe it just seemed that way thanks to the work of Maui’s local brewmasters.

The party on Front Street does get pretty wild as alcohol keeps flowing peculiarly though it winds down earlier than I expected. By midnight they are washing the streets down.  I did notice that during my visit to Hawaii things did seem to shut down earlier. Many outlets didn’t even have business hours posted clearly there was just a general understanding of when things are available.

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Perhaps it is the rather laid back nature of the island lifestyle. One which, while recognizable as American, seems far removed.  I think another reason may simply be people want to be up bright an early for the sun and surf. This island really shines in daylight hours and you want to catch every one of them I assure you. A 6:30 wake up does not hurt nearly as hard when you can see the waves rolling in.

Halloween in Lahaina is big and pretty fun, I’m not sure it quite meets the insanity of Mardi Gras but it was a terrific evening. Locals and tourists go all out and party together in the spirit of island fun and Halloween

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