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Musical fundraiser (Taylor’s version) to benefit business affected by Maui wildfires

By Rob Nielsen - | May 16, 2024
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Wildfire wreckage is shown Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. A search of the wildfire wreckage on the Hawaiian island of Maui revealed a wasteland of burned out homes and obliterated communities as firefighters battled the stubborn blaze making it the deadliest in the U.S. in recent years.
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The logo for the Utah-based nonprofit Back to Business Maui.

OGDEN — A Taylor Swift-themed dance party is set to kick off a local woman’s efforts to help raise money for those affected by a recent disaster.

The dance party, benefitting Back To Business Maui, will be held at The Monarch from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday.

According to a press release, the event will provide cookies for guests and also will feature a soda bar. “A silent auction with a wide variety of local services and gifts will be available for guests to bid on,” the release said. “All proceeds from tickets and the silent auction will go to Lahaina business owners.”

This will mark the first fundraising event for Back to Business Maui — the brainchild of Keli Anderson of Pleasant View — which seeks to raise money for those businesses affected by the August 2023 wildfires, which devastated parts of the island of Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.

“My husband and I were celebrating our anniversary in Maui,” Anderson told the Standard-Examiner on Wednesday. “We were in Lahaina, actually, the day before the wildfires happened. We were actually in Maui when they happened.”

She said it was a moving experience that she was able to relate to.

“On our anniversary, we spent the whole, entire day there. We shopped at the shops, we had eaten the great food and we just kind of fell in love with the culture and the great businesses that were there,” she said. “Having been a business owner myself and having lost my business — of course, not in a tragic way like they did, but we had to close down — I felt for them losing their livelihoods.”

Anderson was then inspired to start the nonprofit Back to Business Maui along with her sister, with the goal of each fundraiser they hold benefitting one business and its owner. Friday night’s dance party will benefit Aina Kohler and the Lahaina Surf Shop, a business that was lost during the fires.

Anderson said there are preliminary plans to have more fundraising events in the future.

“Around the anniversary, we want to do a luau,” she said. “We haven’t thought it through completely, but we do want to definitely do something to embody the beautiful Hawaiian culture.”

She said the goal is to have at least two fundraisers per year and, potentially one day, raise enough money to construct a building in Lahaina that multiple businesses could utilize and reestablish themselves in.

For additional information on Friday night’s fundraiser, visit the Back to Business Maui Instagram page @backtobusiness.maui.


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