Lahaina is a small town just 10 miles south of where we stayed at the Westin. It used to be the center of activity prior to western contact where chiefs and royalty gathered and were buried. After western contact it became the center of the Pacific whaling activity but now it is a tourist destination for those staying in local resorts and hotels as well as for cruise ship visitors. It really is quite pretty with it's own small harbor and beautiful mountains on the "island side" of the town.
It is also home to a beautiful banyon tree planted
over 125 years ago in the center square. The banyon is a multi-trunk tree system interconnected by branches that have cleaved into each other.
The Old Lahaina Luau is located on the old burial grounds giving it special significance. The Laua is a "traditional" laua in that it is a mixture of story telling from ancient times to the modern. The influence of the missionaries and whaling on the Hawaian culture. The food, music, story telling, and hula dancing is all wonderful. For those looking for fire dancing ... this is not the place. There are some quite good dancers and the music is also quite good but this show is more about the gentle spirit of the Hawaian people, their traditions as told through the story telling and dancing and their welcoming of all people to their land. There is a pig roasted in an underground pit and when it is brought out of the ground then the feast can start. Apparently this is quite a big deal because I could not get near it and had to settle for a photo of the people ringing the pit five deep waiting for the pig to be raised.
We sat on mats with low dining tables next to the stage. There is an option to sit in chairs at tables back further from the stage but I really enjoyed bieng so close. A couple we met at our table was from MN and it turns out they knew the CEO of Target that funded the MIM in Phoenix.