Fans of Aloha Stadium invited to final public event

February 1—Bruno Mars or the University of Hawaii football team will not be playing, but a closing ceremony at Aloha Stadium is scheduled for the public later this month.

Bruno Mars or the University of Hawaii football team will not be playing, but a final event at Aloha Stadium is scheduled for the public later this month.

The Stadium Authority, a state agency trying to clean up the 47-year-old Halawa facility that was sentenced in late 2020 for spectator events, held a closing ceremony on February 25, a Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. field-goal-kicking and other on-field soccer training activities, food trucks, and tours of indoor areas of the stadium not normally open to the public, including a Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame exhibit, locker rooms, and prized UH Sports memorabilia.

There will also be entertainment, a beer concession, the regular swap meet with around 400 vendors, a keiki play zone and some “Game Day Experience” elements including opportunities to meet well-known sports reporters and UH athletes.

Stadium authority officials expect the 50,000-seat Rust Palace to be demolished in 2024 and replaced with a new roughly 35,000-seat facility expected to open in 2027 if protracted difficulties in implementing a redevelopment plan are overcome without further setbacks.

“As we near the time to bid farewell to this historic venue and make way for a new facility, the stadium authorities will offer fans one last opportunity to cherish their memories,” the agency said in an announcement.

Samantha Spain, the stadium’s marketing specialist, said about 5,000 or more people should be able to attend and that the event will be the last time the public can visit the stadium.

“We want them to go home with goose bumps and have their picture taken at the 50-yard line knowing it won’t be here next year,” she said.

Admission prices range from free to $24 including fees, depending on the visiting time slot. Free tickets are available for the visit from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Longer afternoon and evening time slots are priced at around $10 and $13, respectively. The $24 ticket allows access from 12pm to 9pm and includes some VIP extras.

Children up to and including the age of 12 accompanied by an adult have free entry with a ticket.

Tickets are required and available at aloha-stadium.eventbrite.com. A limited number of tickets, which can be purchased at the stadium on the same day, will also be available.

The event, titled “Aloha From Aloha Stadium,” follows the stadium authority, which has auctioned off parts of the stadium, including seat backs, signs, turf scraps and equipment, in a series of sales that began in October.

State officials, including Hawaii legislators, members of the stadium authority and the Department of Accounting and General Services, with the support of a team of private sector consultants, have been working on plans to transform the stadium’s 98-acre campus into a new Aloha Stadium for more than a decade Entertainment District featuring a new stadium surrounded by shops, restaurants, apartments and a hotel being built by one or more private developers and funded with a mix of private capital and $350 million in Hawaiian taxpayers’ money.

Much work has been done including market studies, conceptual planning, environmental assessments, land use permits and draft tenders. But multiple changes mandated by the Legislature over a number of years, and re-evaluations or attempted changes by recently-elected Governor Josh Green and his predecessor David Ige, have thrown back the project, which once had a new stadium set to open this year.

The coronavirus pandemic also contributed to delays, prompting the stadium authority, which operates the stadium, to close the stands in December 2020 due to high maintenance costs and dried up revenue due to COVID-19 restrictions. This move forced UH to upgrade its Clarence TC Ching practice field in Manoa for games in 2022 and for an uncertain number of years.

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