Flowers of Hawaii Come to Life in the 34th Annual Luau

“You’re so lucky you live in Hawaii.” Such are the words Junior Shannon ‘Kala’ Stringert hears almost every time he tells people that he is from Hawaii.

Now, people have the chance to experience a piece of paradise at this year’s 34th Annual Luau hosted by Hui O Hawaii, the student Hawaiian culture club, being held this Saturday in War Memorial Gym.

The night will begin with a Hawaiian welcome, followed by a traditional Hawaiian feast, a hula and Tahitian dance show featuring USF students and an all-star band performance featuring members from Hoonua, Typical Hawaiians and Keahiwai, three well-known bands from Hawaii.

Senior politics major Sam Benish looks forward to the food every year. “They have the same menu every year, but I’m going to eat. I like the kalua pig,” Benish said. “I also heard that the dances might be better this year.”

This year’s theme is “Na Pua O Hawaii”–the flowers of Hawaii.

“It represents the land, people and special places in Hawaii. The word ‘pua’ means ‘flower.’ But it symbolizes the children of Hawaii, as they are baby ‘flowers’ growing,” said Stringert, one of this year’s luau chair people. Also chairing the event is Jaclyn Cadaoas. Kamele Bento, a junior accounting major participating in both hula and Tahitian dance, said her involvement in the luau makes her feel accomplished, and that all her hard work and long hours of rehearsal will pay off.

Bento feels she is able to share her Hawaiian culture with others who don’t completely understand the culture through her involvement in the production of luau. “It is culturally important to break the stereotypes about Hawaiians. It is not just a show, but it’s a story too,” Bento said. Planning for this event began in Nov. 2005. Stringert, a hospitality management major, said luau was almost not going to happen this year because of a lack of resources. The budget was limited and the students coordinating had little experience planning such a large event. Stringert and the rest of the luau board decided to make a budget proposal to Superfund in late January, and were successful in receiving some of the money they requested.

Another obstacle was finding a choreographer for the dinner show, a main part of the event. After long negotiations, Hui O Hawaii asked last year’s kumu (teacher) to return to teach them the dances they will perform Saturday. “It’s going to be an exciting night,” said Stringert.

Tickets can be purchased Thursday and Friday in Harney Plaza during dead hour, or by email to hui_o_ Tickets are $15 for college students with a valid college ID, $25 for general admission. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, $20 students, $30 general. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. and show starts at 7 p.m.”You’re so lucky you live in Hawaii.” Such are the words Junior Shannon ‘Kala’ Stringert hears almost every time he tells people that he is from Hawaii.

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