ARIZONA NEWS

Annual Arizona Aloha Festival returns to Tempe Beach Park this weekend

Mar 14, 2024, 4:15 AM

Annual Arizona Aloha Festival returns to Tempe Beach Park this weekend...

Various musical demonstrations will hit the two stages at the free festival. (Visit Arizona photo)

(Visit Arizona photo)

PHOENIX – Grab a lei and loosen up those hips. The annual Arizona Aloha Festival is set to return to Tempe Town Lake this weekend.

This free two-day celebration of Hawaiian culture will take place at 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. It will last from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each day.

There will be entertainment, cultural displays and vendors who will offer a taste of Polynesian culture.

It’s the event’s 30th anniversary this year. They’re celebrating with various performances that will take place on two stages. Dancers will take the audience on a trip through Hawaii and the South Pacific.

There will also be an island marketplace where vendors will sell fine arts, crafts, clothing and home décor. While some offerings are modern, many use unique South Pacific designs. There will be ATMs onsite as some vendors only take cash.

Visitors can also enjoy the Ohana Village. It gives visitors an opportunity to connect with local resources. Nonprofit organizations set up displays in this area to promote local sports clubs, social groups and educational programs.

Speaking of education, there’s also a Hale Mana’o – known as a house of knowledge.

The annual Arizona Aloha Festival has lots of activities for kids and parents

The house of knowledge lets visitors learn and participate in various demonstrations. Hula lessons, lei lessons, storytellers and cooking demonstrations are all events the festival has hosted in past years.

This time around, participants will learn how to play with Māori poi balls and how to play kōnane, a two-person strategy game traditionally played with white coral, black lava and carved stone.

Visitors can also learn how to make music on the ukulele at Aunty Aloha’s Ukulele Corner. Volunteer teachers will teach students of all ages how to join the jam session.

Kids can also take part in “make and take” arts and crafts. Visitors of all ages can also learn a Tahitian beat to honor traditional log drums used all throughout Polynesia for both dancing and communication.

Get ready for lots of Polynesian food offerings

Hawaii’s famous plate lunches, which combine rice, macaroni salads and meaty entrees, will be up for grabs. There will also be steamed pork-filled buns, spam musubi and Island beef strew over rice.

Pineapple curry, coconut shrimp, ribs, sushi, yakisoba and Filipino street food are also available.

Whether visitors like garlic shrimp, Hawaiian BBQ, noodles, sushi, Korean chicken or just shaved ice, they’re in luck. There are around 30 food vendors this year.

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Annual Arizona Aloha Festival returns to Tempe Beach Park this weekend