Public health concerns over COVID-19 have claimed a cherished Maui community tradition and the island’s largest annual event.
Organizers today announced the 98th Maui Fair that was set for Oct. 1 to 4 has been called off at the request of the county due to the large crowds it attracts.
The first fair was held at Wells Park in Wailuku in 1916, and the event, formerly known as the Maui County Fair, has been canceled only four other times: once during World War I and three times during World War II.
Attendance at last year’s Maui Fair was 89,763. The annual four-day event kicks off with a parade down Kaahumanu Avenue and is a major fundraiser for numerous nonprofits and features food and craft booths, EK Fernandez rides and games, agricultural and livestock exhibits, photo and student art contests, some of Hawaii’s top entertainers, and a Special Fair Day reserved for individuals with disabilities.
Avery Chumbley, president of the Maui Fair Alliance, said the fair will return in 2021 “provided it is deemed safe to hold gatherings of the size of its average daily attendance.”
“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,” Chumbley said in a statement.
He told the Star-Advertiser that next year’s fair dates will depend on the availability of EK Fernandez attractions, but “most likely it will be Thursday, Sept. 30, to Sunday, Oct 3, 2021.”