This past Saturday, the 5th of May, I tried to make up for the last two weeks of inactivity by attending, not one, but two events on the same day. Since I have not been able to swim since the surgery I needed to get out of the house and interact with human beings (as much as I despise them at times), as well as get some sun. I decided I would bring my camera with me and see where the day was going to take me.
The first stop was at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Makawao town. The annual St. Joseph’s Feast, which ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday had a very fair-like atmosphere. After you dodged traffic, like Frogger, to get across Makawao Avenue, the church’s parking lot had two long pavilions set up on either side. One tent was food and the entertainment stage, while the other tent had the games. On the front lawn of the church were the bouncy castles, because nobody can ever have any event out here without the presence of a bouncy castle…or two.
I made a quick pass through the games tent on my way to the entertainment/food tent. Set up like a carnival, they had games like ring toss, popping the balloons with darts, bean bag toss, basketball and cork gun offering prizes for winners. They also had a face painting booth, much to the delight of anybody wanting sparkles on their cheeks.
As I sat and listened to the performers sing, I watched the individuals in the crowd enjoying their experience. The event, much like the island itself, brought together so many people of different cultures and ethnicity. From Portuguese to Filipino, from Hawaiian to Haoles, there is nothing better than good food and a good cause to bring the community together. With all of these cultures mixed together you get some amazing food. From pork adobo, chicken hekka, chow fun, teriyaki beef, malasadas, hamburger steak, Portuguese bean soup and of course shave ice for dessert. Food is definitely the name of the game for any island event.
As I was sitting on the metal folding chair two things happened of interest. First, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if there was anything she could get for me from the nearby food booths. Pure aloha at its finest. This stranger was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to do for myself and decided she would be my legs for me. What a wonderful gesture which, of course, I declined. Maybe I’m giving her too much credit. This was a church event, so she may have been asking to earn points in order to secure her status as a good catholic. I guess we’ll never know.
The second thing worth mentioning, again while I was sitting down, was when a young boy of maybe five years of age tried to walk down the row I was seated in and proceeded to step on my left foot. Even with the big black boot and my crutches in front of me for protection, this little bot was so distracted by his new whoopee cushion that he was not paying attention to where he was going. Since my foot has never been an issue and the padding of the boot, combined with the fact that he couldn’t have weighed more than 50 pounds, I wasn’t too bothered by the boy’s misstep. The parents apologized for their son, but I shrugged it off. I was more excited to see that they still produce whoopee cushions. Imagine this little boy’s enthusiasm as he held in his hand the ultimate fart joke/prank. He will never outgrow that feeling.
Feeling ambitious, and trying desperately to make up for the past 12 months of living like a hermit, I decided to drive out to Ka’anapali to bare witness to the 23rd Annual Maui Onion Festival. I have been hearing about the Maui Onion Festival for many years, but have never taken advantage of the opportunity to enjoy this particular celebration to the pungent bulb.
Ka’anapali is located on the west side of Maui, just past the town of Lahaina. The west side is where the majority of hotels, resorts and vacation rentals are located and has been that way since the 1960’s. The Maui Onion Festival was being held at the Whaler’s Village, an outside mall filled with local stores, restaurants, designer boutiques and art shops.
As I made my way to the main stage, the walkways were crowded with temporary kiosks set up to teach lei making, sell onion food items and there was even one for a magician to perform his slight of hand. The main stage played host to several cooking demonstrations by local chefs as well as the Maui onion eating contest.
The feeling I got of the onion festival was very touristy. I understand that it is located in tourist central, but there was an absence of aloha, of diversity and of all things Maui. If you have more than one option to attend an event on Maui, see if you can find out how many food booths each event will have. Go to the event that has the most booths and you will get a better Maui experience…trust me.
Driving back from Ka’anapali I had to loosen the boot and release the velcro straps to relieve some of the pressure on my shin. When I arrived at home I removed the boot to air out a skinny, sweaty, pasty-white, pruned leg. Although I may have pushed myself too far, I had most of Sunday to recover and write this entry.