by Jacob Shafer
Halloween In Lahaina Takes Another Hit
In an announcement that disappointed many but surprised few, the County announced this week that Front Street will remain open to traffic throughout Halloween night. Both Police Chief Gary Yabuta and Tavares Administration spokesperson Mahina Martin told The Maui News that eleventh-hour efforts by the Lahaina Town Action Committee and West Maui Community Association to get permits were insufficient.
Of course, the County will still provide a police presence, and people will still show up. Yet for a third consecutive year, the party once billed as the "Mardi Gras of the Pacific" will be—as Martin termed it in 2009 when we spoke to her—a "non event."
That's bad news for revelers, but worse for businesses. A recent study commissioned by the North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund and conducted by Hawaii Pacific University Professor Jerome Agrussa found that Halloween in Lahaina can generate about $3 million in additional revenue for West side establishments, mostly hotels and restaurants. But the longer it languishes in a state of semi-existence, the less likely the crowds are to come back.
North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund, Inc.