BREAKING: Maui Fair CANCELED at Request of County Amid COVID-19 Health Concerns

May 14, 2020, 4:27 PM HST · Updated May 16, 8:55 AM
Wendy Osher · 99 Comments
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97th Maui Fair, opening day. (10.3.19) Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The 98th Maui Fair, which was scheduled to take place over four days in October, is cancelled for this year due to public health concerns.  Organizers say the event will be held sometime next year at a date to be determined, provided it is deemed safe to hold gatherings of the size of the fair’s average daily attendance.

Attendance at the 97th Maui Fair last year was about 90,000 individuals.  The event serves as the primary source of funding for many of Maui’s nonprofit and community organizations.

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“Due to the impact of COVID-19 on our community and the public health rules limiting the number of persons who can gather in one area, Maui Fair Alliance will cancel the 98th Maui Fair until a time in 2021,” said Avery B. Chumbley, President of the Maui Fair Alliance.

According to fair organizers the Maui Fair Alliance was asked by the County of Maui to not hold the fair this year and has decided to “respectfully and dutifully comply with that request.”

“While our hearts are heavy knowing we cannot gather for our 98th annual celebration, the health and safety of our guests, participants and community is our highest priority,” said Chumbley.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino, confirmed the news during his daily afternoon press conference (scroll down to see full video stream below) today, saying, “We thank the Alliance for respecting our request and look forward to brighter, better days ahead when we can gather again to celebrate all that is exceptional about the Maui Community.”

“I will say it was a very difficult decision. Many of you are aware that I spent over 30 years in some capacity at the Maui Fair and worked with the Fair Association and now the Fair Alliance.  But in the guise of protecting our citizens–not knowing where we will be in October, and something like a fair needs to have a lot of planning, a lot of money, a lot of commitments.  For example, EK Fernandez and tents–all of that needs to be committed to now,” said Mayor Victorino.

“You’re going to expend money, and say you cancel in August, that money is gone. So we couldn’t take that chance,” said Mayor Victorino.

We asked Mayor Victorino how Maui’s nonprofit and community organizations will be impacted.

“How it affects the nonprofits and schools–probably adversely, but yet a number of these schools that raise money for different programs this past year, are not expending a lot of those monies because we’re not having project graduation and other programs.  The band hasn’t been playing–they haven’t had any concerts.  There’s been a lot of monies that haven’t been expended from this year that will be carried over to next year,” said Mayor Victorino.

“However, with that being said, I know organizations that I’ve been a part of or a member of, we will hurt from it.  But we will figure a way to get by it and hopefully in 2021, we will have the annual county fair here in Maui County again,” said Mayor Victorino.

“Until then,” Sherri Grimes, Maui Fair Managing Director said, “Stay safe, be well and support each other. We are Maui Strong.”

Posted by County of Maui on Thursday, May 14, 2020

*Video courtesy County of Maui and Akaku.

97th Maui Fair, opening day. (10.3.19) Photo by Wendy Osher.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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