Windsurfing, surfing, Maui, The Gorge, and random rants.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Lahaina Halloween 2011
This year Lahaina's Front Street was once again closed to traffic on Halloween night. This allowed us and a few other thousand or so revelers to parade without fear of being run over by distracted (or drunk) drivers. Good times! Closing Front Street had become a tradition that helped Lahaina Halloween grow until it had become, by 2003 or so, the so called "Mardis Gras" of the Pacific. But this festiveness didn't sit well with a few locals, so despite the obvious hit to business, tourism, and safety, Lahaina kept the traffic flowing from 2006 until this year. Which might have worked a little too well because business on Halloween definitely took a big hit. And on Maui tourism is the real king, and thus the streets were closed again this year and the tourists (mostly) came back.
I had an entirely different post already written where I described in great detail the history of Lahaina back to the invasion of Kamehameha, the great and bloody battles fought, the intrigue involving Kamehameha's use of foreign cannons to wipe out the defenders of the other islands to become the ruler of all, the harsh impact of missionaries on local culture, and so on. With this historical context I was going to review the recent controversy involving closing Front Street on Halloween. But it wasn't to be - the gods of blogger decided not to auto save my draft when I rebooted after installing the latest security whatever, and it was no more. So I'll leave that as an educational moment and instead just state that I wish Front Street was more or less permanently closed to traffic all the time (other than to residents of course). In fact, wouldn't it be cool if a few open trolleys roamed the streets instead? These could provide free rides to cheeseburger in paradise or whatever overpriced food or drink any tourist would ever need. That would do a much better job of returning Lahaina to a historically and culturally respectful place IMO. After all, why are cars so damn important they need to be everywhere all the time, especially on Halloween? And if Front Street was always closed there would be no such Halloween controversy anymore. Right?
The last Lahaina Halloween we attended was in 2003, and in comparison this year seemed somewhat toned down - though still fun! In 2003 folks actually erected full scale performance stages, multiple DJ's were rocking out in the street to large groups of partiers (see photo to right), live bands were playing, and, yes, there might have been a bit more flesh exposed. It was a great time without any troubles that I recall, but the current festiveness is probably a good compromise for everyone involved. It's interesting to note that in the intervening years, Las Vegas has started their own Halloween parade, and some claim this is now the real Halloween Mardis Gras. And knowing Vegas there won't be any complaints. I'm sure a good percent of the former Lahaina visitors might in fact be headed to Vegas instead. Also of note - LV is the #1 vacation destination for Hawaii residents, so it's ironic that some locals who claim offense at the comparatively mild Halloween costumes might at some point vacation in Vegas where every casino girl bares more flesh every day of the week. But if it happens in Las Vegas...
Anyhoo, enough with all that. The main thing is we had a great time this year and I got some decent photos to share with ya. Also our friend Rick Zolcinski, visiting from Melbourne Australia, was very kind to share some great shots that he took as well. Enjoy!
First from my camera (note they opened the street promptly at 11:30 complete with flashing cop cars and a fleet of street washers - very dramatic!)...