For some, the Napa Valley Aloha Festival is just a fun thing to do over the weekend, but for others, attendance is almost mandatory.
“It’s the experience of home,” said Song Pisimata. “To me, it’s like a big family reunion.”
Pisimata lives in Concord now, but he grew up in American Samoa, a U.S. territory south of Hawaii.
Attending Aloha festivals is “about the closest thing to home” and pretty much the only way to get authentic food and music, he said. There’s a variety of food available from Samoa, Hawaii and the Philippines. “It’s like a potluck,” he said.
“It’s one of those events where you forget about the price because you just enjoy it so much,” he added.
Admission to the event, which is in its 10th year, is free. Parking is also complimentary.
Much of this year’s event has been moved inside to Chardonnay Hall at the Napa Valley Expo to give people a way to get out of the heat, said Jessica Luthi, festival coordinator.
“Everybody seems very happy to be indoors this year,” Luthi said. Even though the weather was nice on Saturday, she said, workshop instructors won’t need to compete with the performers on the outdoor stage. There were seven workshops scheduled on Saturday, teaching everything from “Hot Hula Fitness” to beginner ukulele. Similar workshops will be available again at Chardonnay Hall on Sunday.
This year’s Aloha Festival features performances by Kawika Kahiapo and Kawika Alfiche & Halau ‘O Keikiali’i as well as several cultural presenters and about 60 vendors.
The Aloha Festival continues Sunday at the Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third St., Napa, inside and behind Chardonnay Hall, from 9:45 a.m. until 4 p.m.