Hawaii Maui kicks off Whale Festival By Shane Nelson / February 16, 2009 Share 1 -- In connection with the annual migration and calving period of thousands of humpback whales off the shores of Maui, the island holds the Maui Whale Festival. Hosted by the nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation, the festival helps to fund a variety of marine education programs for children. This year, the Maui Whale Festival got started on Feb. 7 with the Run for the Whales event. Participants chose either a 5-kilometer run/walk or a half-marathon along the island's southern coast. All proceeds went to Maui schoolchildren. Upcoming events include the Feb. 21 Maui Whale Day celebration, complete with a parade, music performances, a craft fair, environmental exhibitions and kids' activities. A whale count, a variety of whale-watching excursions and a humpback whale lecture series are also part of the event. For more information, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org.