Saturday, August 6, 2016

Aloha Festival in San Francisco Bay Area

When one hears Aloha Festival, they naturally think Hawai`i. However, with so many relocating to the Mainland for work, they found they needed to look for ways to keep their roots alive and share their cultural heritage. The Pacific Islander Cultural Association, a nonprofit formed in 1995 to help perpetuate the culture of all Pacific Islanders, created an annual Aloha Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area as a way to come together.

For those missing home or are just Hawaiian at Heart like myself, you can get a taste of the islands with food booths offering a choice of Hawaiian Plate lunches complete with poi, mango chicken, poke bowls, shaved ice, and hot malasadas.



Need to walk off all that "ono grindz"? Check out the 100+ vendor booths ranging from island themed clothes, snacks, bumper stickers, and music to leis and tropical plants.

If you want to try your hand at Lady Luck, for $5, you can be entered into an hourly raffle winning prizes from participating vendors or co-sponsors with the final prize being 80,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles, enough for a trip for 2 to Hawai`i.

With a choice of two days or both, you can expect continuous entertainment alternating between two stages including Hawaiian Music Award Winners Faith Ako, first mainland born Hawaiian Na Hoku award winner Patrick Landeza, and halaus that may tempt you to get up and hula or shake your hips right along with them. Because of the festival's increasing popularity and record breaking attendance each year, they have moved from the Presidio to the San Mateo Event Center about 5 years ago, big enough to house their annual county fair and offers real bathroom options in their indoor facilities. Do still make sure to arrive early and save your space for the day with your blanket and chairs but please be respectful of other attendees and bring low back chairs to avoid obstructing the view of those behind you if you plan on sitting in the middle.

Anyone interested in experiencing firsthand the 21st annual Aloha Festival by the bay, can do so on August 6th and 7th from 10-5 at the San Mateo Event Center in San Mateo. Admission is free and parking is $10, a small price to pay for an all day event but if you really want to avoid the parking fee, you can park outside of the festival area and walk in. Just follow the sounds of the island music and the line of cars with turtle, whale, and hibiscus decals and before long, you will forget that you are not in Hawai`i


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