Tempe ‘Aloha Festival’ brings annual island ‘spirit’ to Arizona


NEVN Photography

Attendees of the Aloha Festival in Tempe

Hannah Hamilton, Reporter

The annual Arizona Aloha Festival in Tempe drew huge crowds for the annual two day event.

Vendors offered unique crafts and products and the festival showcased traditional Samoan slap dancing.

Located at Tempe Beach Park, the festival hosted activities for kids and created aloha shaved ice treats and island style grilling.

Lacretia Bacon is the Chairperson of the festival and enjoys sharing the Aloha spirit with Arizonans.

“We wanted to recognize that there were people from the islands in Arizona, to bring some awareness and then celebrate their culture. You know, the Aloha spirit is a description of a welcoming and beautiful culture,” Bacon said.

Mindee Montierth is the Food Vendor Chairperson and told Northeast Valley News why she is part of the festival.

“I do this for my nieces and nephews. We are on our third generation of volunteers because it’s important the next generation knows their heritage,” Montierth said.

One of the fan favorite activities at Aloha festival is Aunty Aloha’s Ukelele Corner.

Visitors can bring their own ukelele’s or use one provided and join the “Kanikapila” which means ‘jam session’ in Hawaiian. Michael Deterding was at the booth and shared his favorite part of the festival.

“This (gestures to booth) is called Kanikapila, and that is basically Hawaiian for sit around and play music, and that is my favorite part. I just get to sit around with people and play music and see hula dancers, and it’s not necessarily a performance, it’s just people playing music together, and that’s my favorite part,” Deterding said.

Located across from Aunty Aloha’s Ukelele Corner, was local paddlers Na Leo O Ke Kai and Team Arizona. They displayed their canoes and shared stories and information with guests.

One of the outrigger paddlers discussed what it meant to her to be at the Aloha festival.

“Oh, it’s awesome! Because when you think of outrigger paddling you always think of like the pacific islands or Hawaii, so to have it here in Arizona that we don’t have any ocean and you can still do something like that, and still have the culture of Hawaii here, it means a lot.”

The overall theme of the festival was sharing the beautiful islands culture with everyone.

Vendors eagerly talked and shared information with visitors—a reflection of the welcoming Aloha spirit.