KAUNAKAKAI, Molokai A new company hopes to make it easier for
Western agents to promote travel to Molokai by coordinating
visitor-friendly events on the island.
Called Molokaievents.com, the business was founded by Maria
Holmes, who served as the Molokai Visitors Association director
from 1999 to 2002. “Our long-range goal is to have a major event on
Molokai every month,” said Holmes. “This will not only stimulate
the economy and provide jobs for our residents, but it will help
the visitor industry and travel agents bring people to
Holmes started the company in September 2002 with her partners,
Zhantelle Dudoit and Keoki Pescaia. “Prior to working at MVA, I was
recreation resource manager at Molokai Ranch,” said Holmes. “Zhan
was the guest services manager there, and Keoki worked in the
operations department, so we collaborated closely on the ranch’s
activities, concerts, events, rodeos and so on.
“We saw a need for event coordination on the island, and it
seemed like a natural for the three of us to pool our talents,”
said Holmes. The Molokaievents.com Web site serves as a central
source of information for all the events taking place on the
island, so that dates don’t overlap, she said. The group
coordinates such on-island happenings as community gatherings and
business promotions; but more importantly for travel agents, it
focuses on events that visitors can participate in. One such event,
for instance, is the Hawaii Performing Arts competition on Nov. 29,
in the Maunaloa town concert park. This daylong celebration
features performances by ukulele players, falsetto singers,
slack-key guitarists, hula dancers and practitioners of other
traditional Hawaiian arts.
“We’re hoping to make it an annual event,” said Holmes, who has
been talking with Molokai Ranch officials about creating
air-and-room packages that would be timed with the event.
Another yearly event open to tourists is Ka Molokai Makahiki
Festival, held on the third Saturday of January. This free
celebration honors the end of the Hawaiian makahiki (harvest) by
reviving its tradition of sporting competitions between villages.
In the morning, schoolchildren compete against each other in
ancient Hawaiian games, and later adults join in the fun. An
afternoon hoolaulea (outdoor party) features live entertainment,
food, lectures and arts and crafts. “This is the sort of program
that can provide visitors with a unique perspective on Molokai, our
people and our culture,” said Holmes.
For the rest of 2003, clients can time their visit to Molokai
with events such as the American Cancer Society Relay for Life
(July 18-19); Molokai-to-Oahu Paddleboard Race (July 27); Molokai
Aloha Festivals (Sept. 19-27); Men’s and Women’s Molokai-to-Oahu
outrigger canoe races (Sept. 28 and Oct. 12); Friendly Isle
Ultra-Marathon (Nov. 1); and Festival of Lights in Kaunakakai (Dec.
13). Along with on-island programs, Molokaievents.com promotes the
island by coordinating events throughout Hawaii. Local artists,
performers and business people travel as a group to spread the word
about the island at events such as Molokai Comes to Ward Warehouse
on Oahu, Molokai Comes to Lahaina Cannery Mall on Maui, and Molokai
Comes to Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center on Maui.
808-660-0004; www. molokaievents.com.