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Pacific Island Festival planned Sept. 14-15 in Henderson

The city of Henderson is giving the Pacific Islands another aloha — a greeting in Hawaii — as it welcomes back the 23rd annual Prince Kuhio Ho’olaule’a Pacific Island Festival.

The event is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 14 and 15 at the Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water St., and throughout the Water Street District. Admission is free.

The festival is put on by the Las Vegas Hawaiian Civic Club, which was created in 1989 as a way to preserve the Hawaiian culture and identity in the valley.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 6,784 native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders live in Las Vegas. In Henderson, Pacific Islanders make up .6 percent of the population. This is one event put on to capture the island life and cater to those living in the area.

“There are eight major islands in Hawaii,” said Vincent Souza, the president of the club. “With the large number of Hawaiians in Southern Nevada, we call it our ninth island.”

He added that the club helps those who are first- and second-generation transplants remain in touch with their roots.

In 1990, the organization brought the first Ho’olaule’a Pacific Island Festival to Lorenzi Park.

Henderson has been home to the festival for several years.

Kim Becker, a spokeswoman with the city of Henderson, said the city is pleased to host the festival again.

“It’s a perfect blend of music, food, dance, culture and family friendly activities,” she said. “It is an event our residents have truly embraced.”

Hawaii is a melting pot of regions featuring customs and foods from various Asian and island cultures such as Japanese, Tahitian, Polynesian and Filipino. The festival in Henderson is expected to have that same influence.

“The Las Vegas Hawaiian Civic Club does an excellent job organizing the event and bringing not only the Pacific Islander community from around the country together but also people throughout the valley,” Becker said.

Souza added that it’s just as important to share the island culture with people who aren’t necessarily connected to it.

The event is expected to feature food vendors, crafts and entertainment.

Helping participants fit into the culture, the event is expected to have a craft section instructing people how to create traditional flower and feather leis.

In addition to entertainment, there is expected to be a health fair encouraging participants to have free checkups.

The health fair was added to acknowledge the fact people in the Asian and Pacific Island communities have a high risk of diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer.

The festival also serves as a fundraiser for the club, which provides scholarships to people with Hawaiian ancestry.

“Depending on how much we raise, we usually give out a $1,000 or $1,500 scholarship to a senior in the Clark County School District,” Souza said.

In addition to high school students, the organization provides scholarships as part of an adult continuing education program and two to three middle school students to take part in a cultural immersion program in Hawaii.

For more information, visit hendersonlive.com.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 702-387-5201.

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