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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

12th Annual Napa Valley Aloha Festival

Sat. Sept. 21, 10am - 5pm & Sun. Sept. 22, 10am - 4pm | Napa Valley EXPO

Over the past 12 years, thousands have gathered in the Napa Valley to enjoy a weekend of all things Hawaiian, and learn the true meaning of ‘Aloha.’ The Napa Valley Aloha Festival offers hours of relaxation as people enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of Hawaii.

Napa has been host to mainland Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and neighboring cities every third weekend in September with the Annual Napa Valley Aloha Festival. Founded in 2007, the Manaleo Hawaiian Cultural Foundation, a non-profit organization, established the festival to help bring an awareness of the Hawaiian indigenous people and their culture to the valley through music, dance, art, language, and agriculture. Mayor Jill Techel signed a proclamation on September 20, 2008 giving salute to (then) a one-day event, which has now grown to a spectacular two days, despite challenges over the years of torrential rain, scorching heat, and earthquakes, for the small group of organizers.

As native Hawaiians continue to move to the mainland, their children and grandchildren lose touch with their heritage. It is important to remain connected to the Hawaiian culture, its traditions and practices. This event offers opportunities to learn the ancient ways, such as how Hawaiians made fabric by pounding tree and shrub fibers over stone rocks to make kappa, a cotton-like fabric. Others learn how to make leis, feather crafts and navigate the seas. Workshops are offered to teach olelo (language), ukulele, and hula.

Throughout the years, the festival has showcased the sweet sounds of Hawaiian music, both traditional and modern. Hula has also been shared by many well-known Kumus from all over California and Hawaii. Opening prayers are performed by Liko Puha, a Native Hawaiian chanter, dancer, songwriter, and poet.

The Festival is free, but guests are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to support the CANV Napa Valley Food Bank. Participants can stroll through the festival and browse a multitude of vendors selling everything from exotic Hawaiian dresses, shirts music and cookies to original Hawaiian heirloom jewelry. Others may be content sitting in the lawn area eating from plates piled high with Hawaiian-style barbecue chicken, spareribs, beef, rice and mac salad.

After a full day of shopping and good eats, guests can visit the raffle booth to view many wonderful raffle prizes. Monies raised help to fund scholarships to individuals seeking to receive an education on Hawaiian culture. Originally starting with an academic scholarship, the Manaleo Hawaiian Cultural Foundation introduced a cultural scholarship in 2013 to help those seeking to learn hula, paddle canoe, or crafts. Awardees can apply these funds towards books, tuition, membership dues, implements or other needs to help in their perpetuation of the culture.

Join in this free, family-friendly, alcohol-free event on Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22. The festival features George Kahumoku Jr., the multiple Grammy and Hoku Award winning master Slack Key guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, performer, teacher, artist, sculptor, story-teller, writer, farmer, and entrepreneur. Come and learn a little hula, a little ukulele and a little Hawaiian at workshops, or just bring your low back chairs and a good attitude for awesome entertainment at the Napa Valley Expo Fairgrounds on Third Street in Napa.

Hope to see you there! A Hui Hou!


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