Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Aloha Festival, Part 1

A couple weeks ago, Tempe held the annual Arizona Aloha Festival. Although it was during the time between my two cataract surgeries, I decided I had to go — never been before. Also noteworthy is the fact that I did the post-production after the second surgery but before my eyes had completely healed. If any of the photos are sub-par, now you know why.

When I first arrived, a group of hula dancers were doing their thing. They also invited members of the audience to come up on stage and, as you can see, a few joined in the fun.

Same dancers, different vantage point.

The next troupe of performers were keikis (kids). In Hawai‘i, both boys and girls will take hula lessons just like kids participate in Little League baseball or Pop Warner football on the mainland.

And just like participation in youth sports hones the skills of the kids, keiki hula does the same for those kids. These young ladies obviously had that youth training because they were really good.

One of the things that impressed me during my year-long residence on Maui was that at ohana (family) get-togethers, family members and friends would get up and dance the hula accompanied only by ukulele and/or guitar. It blew my mind because I had no inkling that these friends had such accomplished skill in such a beautiful dance.

Ah, the keikis are back, this time in muumuu (or mu‘umu‘u) dresses. The muumuu was derived from the holokū which was introduced by missionaries and featured long sleeves on a floor-length unfitted dress falling from a high-necked yoke. Their purpose was to cover up the naked or near-naked Hawai‘ian women. At least the muumuu was light and airy keeping the wearer cooler than the traditional heavy clothing of the female missionaries, many from New England, and whose clothing did not fit the tropical climate.

Strolling around, I encountered quite a few booths set up for selling Hawai‘ian clothing and other trinkets.

Longtime readers may recall a past LAHP issue telling the history of Hawai‘ian Heirloom jewelry with photos of my own prized rings and pendant. These vendors offered similar stunning jewelry from the time of the Royal Kingdom of Hawai‘i. I looked at it closely and it was quite nice.

There was a second stage closer to Tempe Town Lake (actually the Salt River, which has little water flowing most of the year but which has been dammed with inflatable dams upstream and downstream and filled to create the lake). This stage offered two very good hula dancers with a large contingent of musicians providing the accompaniment.

A bit later, the aunties came out to perform and they were fabulous. Almost certainly this is due to them learning hula at an early age.

All this dancing gave me an appetite so I wandered over to the food vendor area where I found a familiar name, Aloha Kitchen. This is my go-to Hawai‘ian food restaurant (located in Mesa) whenever I need a fix of ono grinds. Today I had the kalua pork (same as what you are served at a luau) — onolicious!

Here are some of the other vendors. When I got home I looked them up and was surprised to find, not only were local restaurants represented, but also ones from Bremerton, WA; Tacoma, WA; Kaaawa, HI (Oahu) among others. Too bad that I was so full of kalua pork and two-scoop rice that I could not sample some of the other delights.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com