WAVES OF FOLKS GATHER AT THE ALOHA FESTIVAL
I was sitting at my desk in my office in 1995 when in walked a man who had a dream - I came to know him as Julian - the world knows him as Uncle Julian. I came to know Aunty Shirley, Harvey, Sam, others too many to mention. I came to know about the Pacific Islanders Cultural Association: www.pica-org.org.
The times were good at the Presidio of San Francisco and all this took place in Building 102 on the second floor. Julian had a plan and needed some help and I gave him more. In 1995 the good seed was planted and the Aloha Festival took place right on Crissy Field. Fans of the Aloha Festival will remember the HokuleŇa Celebration held in 1995 even as they will remember the Healing Poles which we organized and moved from building 1243 all the way to Crissy Field for all the world to see.
The Crissy Field Lagoon was no where in sight in 1995 and the huge asphalted area at Crissy Field provided ample parking. There was a huge area for any event plan and the Aloha Festival looked good with the embracing Palm Trees that lined Crissy Field. There are all gone now.
The 1995 Aloha Festival was a memorable one and years later the core group that manages the Aloha Festival kept getting stronger. This year is the 10th year and every year - I make it a point to show up and say hi to those who first started this great festival. I always feel I was and am part of this great festival.
I never knew a time would come when vendors would be turned away. This year they were close to a hundred vendors and all doing well. When those who wanted to perform have to be told that they will perhaps get a chance to perform the next year. The performances are awe-inspiring. Missing this year was the Master of Ceremonies - I do not know his name. He is missing but as large as he was his heart and the spirit he held in his spirit still hovers and makes Aloha.
Partnerships were built with many organizations and continue to this day and this is good. Partnerships were built with Islanders from the many Island Nations in the Pacific and this is all good. Perhaps what touched me the most was the huge wooden healing pole with the baby whale - both sharing the shape of a whale - mother and baby.
Every year thousands gather - last year the number attending was 30,000 this year 40,000 folks. Next year even more but it may not be at the Presidio of San Francisco and at the Main Post. The present area where all the parking takes place is slated to be covered with grass and landscaped. The Presidio Trust has the money to waste and the authority not to listen to people who are sane. Remember James Meadows and the other crooks that came with him from Colorado.
PICA encourages those who feel and can tie a knot with the Polynesian Culture - by bloodline, by birth, marriage, cultural heritage, choice, or simply by association to participate. Encourages others to join even if mostly by conviction in oneŇs heart, mind, and spirit - one feels that Aloha association - I like that the best.
The Aloha Festival has made waves and thousands gather in the Spirit of Aloha and Love. There is much that the Aloha Festival has done and much that it will do in the future. It is important to keep the flag flying and fill the air throughout the year with the Aloha Spirit.
Every year we have the canoe races, the music, the dancing, and the delicious food. The most important element that comes into being is the gathering of the tribes and the magic of Aloha.