24th Annual Polynesian Luau

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By Lynn Castle for Asia Pacific Cultural Center

Photo Courtesy of Asia Pacific Cultural Center

It was 1997, and the newly formed Asia Pacific Cultural Center was looking at a dilemma faced by many nonprofits just starting out. It needed money. So, the organization turned to what they knew well: celebrating culture. After some spirited brainstorming, the Samoan leaders in the group suggested a ticketed Luau.


That year the event was held at the South End Neighborhood Center and raised a much-needed $5,000. It also started a wonderful tradition that 24 years later is APCC’s largest annual fundraiser. The 24th Annual Asia Pacific Cultural Center Polynesian Luau is scheduled for Saturday, August 28, from 3 to 6pm at the beautiful park grounds surrounding their location on South Tacoma Way.


The Luau, an ancient Polynesian ritual, is a popular social gathering meant to unite the people of a village or town in celebration of a significant life event, achievement, war victory, or launching of a new canoe. In 2021 at APCC, it will be the celebration of the return to normal in our town. And what a celebration it will be!


The APCC annual Luau is a chance to showcase the various cultures that make up the “Pacific” in Asia Pacific Cultural Center’s name. Performances include dancers from traditional Luau areas like Hawaii, Tonga and Samoa, as well as some you may not think about including Guam, Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand. The highlight of the day features authentic Fire Knife Dancers to close out the event.


Many Pacific Island cultures celebrate with Luaus. While the food served may vary from culture to culture, the passion and love for the event does not … Everyone loves a Luau! The APCC Luau will feature a delicious island menu of Roasted Pig, Sapa Sui-Chop Suey, Coconut Salmon, Teriyaki Chicken, Island Salad, and a variety of tropical fruit.


Don’t stress about what to wear. Polynesian print shirts for men and floral dresses for women are the easiest and most comfortable choices. When paired with khaki shorts or slacks, the aloha shirt goes from casual to dressy. Women can choose to wear a beautiful flower in their hair over the ear—but remember, married ladies wear it over the left ear and single women over the right.


Fun door prizes will be awarded throughout the event including a voucher for a round-trip airline ticket on Alaska Air. To register for door prizes in advance, attendees are encouraged to register at Bit.ly/apccluaudoorprize2021. Local vendors with traditional island wear, crafts, jewelry, food and more will be showcased at the event, giving it a festival atmosphere.


According to Faaluaina Pritchard, executive director of Asia Pacific Cultural Center, “This is the event of the year that all our members look forward to.” She added, “Not being able to see everyone in person last year makes the 2021 event even more special. Now we can enjoy the day in each other’s company.”


To learn more about the delicious food, fun prizes and the lineup of presentations featured during the 24th Annual APCC Polynesian Luau, please visit the APCC Facebook Page at Facebook.com/AsiaPacificCulturalCenter.


Purchase tickets online at Bit.ly/apccluautickets2021 or call APCC at 253.383.3900. Tickets are $50 per person; $500 for a table of 10 seats; children ages 4 to 11 are $12.50, and children 3 and younger are free.


Can’t make the event in person? Then watch as it unfolds on APCC’s Facebook Live page or through their YouTube channel that day.


Asia Pacific Cultural Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization formed in 1996 with the mission to bridge communities and generations through art, culture, education and business. It serves as an interactive cultural crossroads between local and international communities. For more information about APCC, visit their website at APCC96.org.



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