San Franciscans enjoy a celebration of island culture

August 17, 2013 by  

San Franciscans love parties, it seems – after all, this is the city that celebrates April 1 with a parade of goofy hats and other silly items. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that residents turned out August 3-4, 2013, to celebrate the Aloha Festival in San Mateo, about 20 miles from the city.

The 18th “not-quite-annual” celebration featured foods and crafts that recalled the tastes and interests of the islands. In addition, there was live entertainment, cultural activities and children’s events, and exhibitions designed to educate people about Polynesian culture.

The event was sponsored by the Pacific Islanders’ Cultural Association and featured two days of island music and dancing. On Saturday, the Faatasi Youth Services of San Francisco presented Samoan dances at noon. They were followed by the Keolalaulani Hālau ʻŌlapa O Laka of San Mateo doing the hula. Steven Espaniola took the stage next for slack key/falsetto music from Hawaii, and the Mango Kingz would up the day with a set of island reggae.

On Sunday, acts included Ka Nalu, a group that performs Hawaiian music both new and traditional; Tahitian dances courtesy of ʻOteʻa ʻApi; Patrick Landeza with slack key music; and DeAndre Kamele Brackensick and Ho’omana. In addition to the musicians, there was a two-day workshop on how to make feather leis.

The weekend was a great success, and festival organizers could build on this by working with flyer printing experts to create a mailer describing this year’s fun, and suggesting people mark their calendars for 2014.