Thursday, July 30, 2015

The 20th Annual Bay Area Aloha Festival

AUGUST 1 & 2, 2015
San Mateo County Event Center
1346 Saratoga Drive
San Mateo, California

Who would have thought it has been 20 years? But it's true, this year Pacific Islanders’ Cultural Association (PICA) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary.

When PICA held its first event at Crissy Field in San Francisco in July of 1995, it was to welcome the Hokule’a voyaging canoe to our California shores.

PICA was a fledging organization established to bring the Pacific islanders’ together in a joint effort to promote the cultures of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia.  And with your support, PICA has come a long way in accomplishing that goal.

As for academic scholarships awarded every year at our annual festival?

Since 2004, the Pacific Islanders' Cultural Association (PICA) has awarded $52,000 to students who have shown a desire to further their education. Qualified Pacific Islander students who are either starting or continuing college or professional/trade school studies are encouraged to strive for the highest and not settle for less.

PICA has also chosen to offer grants or sponsorships to organizations that show an effort to follow the guidelines that we have developed to perpetuate the Pacific Islander cultures which we represent. Toward that effort, in 2014 alone, we awarded an additional $17,000 in grants to worthy organizations.

While most of the information above was taken directly from the PICA website, I can attest to this simply because I have been a part of PICA for 19 years.

All of us who are affiliated with Pacific Islanders' Cultural Association are volunteers. Yes, it's true, the wonderful people who make the Bay Area Aloha Festival a success each year are all volunteers.

The Bay Area Aloha Festival is a free, two-day ethnic arts festival celebrating Pacific Islander culture. Each year thousands of islanders and islanders-at-heart gather to celebrate the culture through music, hula, arts and crafts, authentic island food, and educational workshops.

The Bay Area Aloha Festival is held during the first full weekend in August. If August 1st falls on a Sunday, then the festival is held the following weekend.

This year the festival falls on August 1-2, 2015 (Saturday & Sunday), 10:00am – 5:00pm,

It is being held at the San Mateo County Event Center (SMCEC), 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403. This is the same location as Aloha Festival 2014.

In an attempt to keep our event affordable for families, many of whom already find the high cost of living in the Bay Area a challenge, the Bay Area Aloha Festival still has a free admission policy.

Of course, we have no control of the paid parking which is available for $10.00 per vehicle.

For me, as the head of security for PICA for 19 years of the 20, I can say without hesitation that it has been a pleasure to be part of such a great organization and encourage all to come out and enjoy the weekend.

Come out and become part of our Ohana, our family, for the weekend. You will find that it is always an enjoyable experience. And yes, you may even find out why some have said it is like taking a trip to Hawaii without the flight, the hotel, or the rental car.

Aloha nui loa, a hui hou!

Tom Correa

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