Polynesian luau in Tacoma to support the Pacific Cultural Center

A group that once practiced Chamorro dance in a three-car garage will return to the Asia-Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma as one of many groups to perform at the 24th annual APCC Polynesian Luau.

Joel Larimer, founder of Guma ‘Imahe, said his group will perform dances from Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The luau starts at 3 p.m. on August 28. Those unable to attend in person can watch the event unfold through the centre’s Facebook Live and YouTube page.

Tickets for the luau can be purchased online. It costs $ 12.50 for children ages 4 to 11 and $ 50 for ages 12 and over. Participants can also purchase a table for 10, which costs $ 500.

You can expect to see cultural dances and hear traditional music from islands like Fiji, Tonga, and Guam. Roast pork, coconut salmon and teriyaki chicken will be among the dishes served.

Singing and singing will also be heard with songs that talk about topics such as the mythical creation of Guam.

“I wouldn’t say we play… we present,” Larimer said. “It’s more of a learning experience for the public.

Guma ‘Imahe started in March 2012 in her sister’s three-car garage, Larimer said. Only one student showed up for the first dance practice, but that number increased over time.

“I ended up with 24 dancers,” Larimer said. “We passed the garage – we even made them dance on the outside part of the driveway.”

When July arrived, Guma ‘Imahe partnered with APCC so the dancers could have more space to practice, Larimer said. The group has continued to grow.

The luau is one of APCC’s main fundraising events, said Faaluaina Pritchard, APCC Executive Director. The organization started in 1996 and had its first luau in 1997, when it raised $ 5,000.

“It was the primary source of income for the organization,” said Pritchard.

Last year’s luau raised $ 78,000, Pritchard said. While the funds raised from the luau are not enough to support the entire organization, they help cover other expenses that the APCC may incur over time, she said.

“It’s only $ 50… but you get the food, you get a full show and a great time to be with the others,” Pritchard said. “It’s a wonderful way for you to support the organization and what we do, and we do so much. “

Larimer said that one of the most important things the luau does is that it helps preserve cultures and emphasizes cultural awareness.

“A lot of people here – and I hate to say it – are very ignorant of different cultures. Some of them never even left Washington, ”Larimer said. “We want them to learn about the different identities (and) cultures of the Pacific.”

Angelica Relente covers topics that affect communities in East Pierce County. She started as a news intern in June 2021.

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