The Mayor's Office is a Big Hit
In a recent interview, Mayor Alan Arakawa assured that he is trying hard (in very unique ways) to put Maui's economy back on top-and in the limelight.
He's certainly been busy lately. From engineering events like First Friday in Wailuku and recruiting championships like the Kite Surfing World Tour, to constructing Maui's very own state-of-the-art movie production industry are just some of the projects Mayor Arakawa is currently spearheading as the county's Chief Executive. But the newly promoted film production scene is the one project he is itching to see completed. He described how much revenue O'ahu has received with shows like Hawai'i Five-O, Lost and how Maui shared the spotlight with Kaua'i in the award-winning film, The Descendents. With so many productions taking place on O'ahu, the mayor said Kaua'i is building up quite a name for itself as a favorite second choice for filmmakers- while Maui is only getting the occasional "hit" in the Hollywood scene. Mayor Arakawa said he would like to see a burgeoning film scene in Maui, where filmmakers, actors, and editors alike will want to come to produce their media. "Where would you want to help with a film... in the snow?" he asked, "or would you want to help here, where you can surf before you work?" Mayor Arakawa is trying to give us our own film industry here, in our own backyard, where Maui residents will benefit. One of his most successful projects is Wailuku's First Friday on Main Street, which takes place every first Friday of the month, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event closes down Market Street and lets vendors, musicians, and entertainers "set up shop." Many people agree that this event has turned the tides from Wailuku Town going downhill and "dull," to now providing an opportunity for a very bright and optimistic future.
First Friday is "a place for people to showcase their talents," the mayor said. In fact, many of Maui's most talented musicians have played there on at least one occasion. Some businesses have musicians set up in front of their shops during these Friday night soirÃ©es. With nearly 5,000 people attending on a good night, it's fair to say that businesses on the street are doing quite a "roar" of a trade.
With all the success that has bestowed Maui in the last 50 years, there is still a plethora of projects to come. The project in the reigning city of Wailuku is spreading across the island now, with PÄ'ia, Makawao, and Lahaina setting up their own 2nd, 3rd and 4th Friday events.
Meanwhile, the mayor is still working out the kinks in his film production project, and he is pushing hard to get Maui some decent airtime on the 1,000-plus channels we have these days. Although, for all we know, the future is only as the pleasant as the present.
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