Hot on the heels of Thanksgiving, Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, will light up the night sky from 5 to 7 this evening with its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Free and open to the public, it’s a spectacle to behold with seven miles of white lights strung on the monkeypod and palm trees along the main entrance, capped off with a 25-foot fir tree decorated to the nines.
Enjoy hot cocoa and holiday cookies starting at 5 p.m., followed by a performance by Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning Most Promising Artist 2019 Na Wai ‘Eha at 5:30 p.m. Electricians will “flip the switch” on the trees at 6:30 p.m. Get there early for other activities, such as the Letters to Santa Station and festive sand sculpture on the beach. Have your cameras at the ready, as there will be plenty of photo ops.
You can also give the gift of aloha by purchasing locally made products created by merchants at Shop Maui. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Grand Wailea Foundation benefiting local charities. Shop Maui opens at 4 p.m. in the resort’s Grand Dining Room. The resort’s cultural ambassador, Kalei Uwekoolani, has set up vendors such as Paradise Now, Lola & Elia, Pulelehua, Amity Designs, SuiKeala Native Jewelry, Palapala Designs, Opihi Maui, BDC Designs, JOHI, Kapa Curious and Kapahikaua.
There will be complimentary event parking and shuttle service available nearby the resort on upper Wailea Ike Drive from 4 to 9 p.m. For more details, call Grand Wailea at 875-1234.
The Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea will have its own festive lighting ceremony with the Tree of Hope on Thursday. The annual event kicks off a monthlong fundraising campaign to benefit Maui Food Bank’s “Aloha Backpack Buddies” program. In addition, Fairmont will host Wailea’s Maui Songwriter’s Festival this year — and the big event is Friday with “How I Wrote That Song.” A pre-event will be held at the Luana Lounge, on the resort’s lobby level, which is open to the public with no cover. For more details, call 875-4100.
Upcountry, the Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center in Makawao is beginning to look a lot like Christmas with its First Night Celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. As usual, this is a 21-and-older event.
Do your holiday shopping in style as you enjoy drinks, pupu and spirited music while strolling the dramatically decorated Kaluanui estate featuring the annual handmade paper dress by Jennifer Oberg, according to event coordinator Sharona Belcher.
Attendees will also have first access to the Hui’s sought-after handmade wreaths and pop-up vendors. Nibble on gourmet pupu by Hui sculptor and chef extraordinaire Tim Garcia. Tickets are $30 per person and are going, going … almost gone. For more details, call 572-6560.
COVETED HOLIDAY COMEDY
Speaking of tickets that are going, going, almost gone, Bill Maher’s ninth annual New Year’s Comedy Extravaganza at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului on Dec. 30 is among the island’s hottest- selling shows. Each year, the star of HBO’s “Real Time” brings his acerbic, political comedy to sold-out audiences. This time Maher will be joined by two-time Emmy Award-winner Sarah Silverman and the hilarious Bobby Slayton. If you move too slow on MACC tickets, note that the trio of stand-up comedians will also bring down the house at the Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu on Dec. 31, |according to promoter Rick Bartalini.
On Maui last year, celebrity guests and Maui residents Woody Harrelson and Paul Simon joined the finale. Woody played piano and sang “Smile” (with music by Charlie Chaplin), along with the rest of the group.
“I think everybody wants to be in Hawaii in December,” said Maher, who’s got 34, count ’em, Emmys under his belt. “That was my plan all year: get my ass booked there for New Year’s!”
Maui seats cost $79.50 to $99.50 plus applicable fees. For tickets, call 242-7469, go to the box office or visit mauiarts.org online. For Oahu tickets at the Blaisdell, visit ticketmaster.com, go to the box office or call 800-745-3000.
AROUND THE TOWN
The Shops at Wailea will welcome saxophonist Rock Hendricks as the headliner of the next Jazz at the Shops and Concerts in December. The award winner will offer a free live performance from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday on the upper-level luxury wing of the mall. The Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Maui will benefit from donations.
Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon in Paia kicks off at 8 a.m. every Sunday for football fans with a Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar that flows for $5 a drink. You may tackle the addition of your own garnishes such as hot sauces and veggies. The 12-by-9-foot screen and multiple flat screens offer views from every angle.
In addition, Charley’s live-band open mic and jam hosted by Matt Del Olmo will usher in evening revelers from 7 to 10 p.m. Monday. Del Olmo will also perform Tuesday with Orion Hitzig and Randall Rospond on Wednesday — the latter two nights of performances run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Enjoy no cover all three evenings. For more details, call Charley’s at 579-8085.
Last but not least, owner Michael Baskin of the award-winning Vana in Paia plans to open other ventures in the iconic surf town soon. He recently had a soft opening of Surfclub Tacos Paia Maui, situated in a former gas station-turned- restaurant on the far west end and makai side of town.
Surfclub Tacos is targeted to open Saturday. Initial hours to be announced, but it will eventually open 7 a.m. for breakfast and coffee followed by lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily. Word has it that Chef Jeremy Hannon’s spice rack is like a Mexican apothecary collection. He will wow you with local, vegan taco fillings such as ulu, or breadfruit, along with cauliflower or sweet potato. You may also opt for chili-lime lobster; pollo, or chicken, verde; beef ranchero; local shrimp; and al pastor with pork. For more details, call 579-3333.
Behind Surfclub Tacos will be the much larger Surfclub Restaurant, targeted to open early next year or sooner. It’s oceanfront with an expansive lawn and outdoor patio dining. It will be available for weddings and events as well as serve lunch and dinner daily.