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Local restaurants cook up specials for Wailuku's monthly street party.

By Erin Behan

There’s nothing wrong with feeling like a tourist in Hawaii, but every once in a while it’s nice experience something like a kama’aina or local, and Wailuku First Friday fits the bill with plenty of local flair.

The town’s free monthly party on Market Street has as many as 5,000 attendees dancing to live bands in the street and at the Wailuku Banyan Tree Park. In addition to local music, the once-monthly event features elements no budget traveler should ever live without: authentic sidewalk artisans, local food vendors serving everything from tacos to malasadas and (just for fun) a beer garden. This is not the Hawaii of the glossy brochures, and that’s a good thing!

For the Jan. 6 edition of Wailuku First Friday, a New Year blessing will be pronounced, honoring the Japanese tradition of a good luck cat, Maneki Neko, and in an additional homage to 2012, Taiko drummers will take the stage. The festivities officially run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., but the party continues in local restaurants and bars into the night.

Show up early to find nearby parking, or take the easy way out and book a room at the nearby Maui Seaside Hotel, a locally owned Hawaii hotel adjacent to the Kahului Harbor with rooms at less than $100 a night — a steal on Maui.

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Erin Behan is a freelance writer and editor out of Brooklyn, N.Y., who counts good food, intoxicating drink and adventurous travel among her favorite things.

Tagged: Beach, Events, Food & drink

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