The Hawaiian Inter Club Council of Southern California is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its annual hoʻolauleʻa, this year themed "Onipaʻa" to commemorate Queen Liliʻuokalani's stand against the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Photo - Courtesy

For four decades, Hawaiian clubs and nā hula hālau from Southern California and Nevada have joined together for an two-day ho‘olaule‘a in Los Angeles that attracts tens of thousands of attendees each year.

The original ho‘olaule‘a concept, “Sharing the Heritage, So That It May Live On,” was presented by the late Kumu Hula Wayne Kahoonei Panoke during a table discussion with community leaders about fundraising to support the organizations’ various activities, programs and scholarships.

In 1978, Hui O Hawaii O San Fernando Valley hosted the first ho‘olaule‘a in Southern California at North Hollywood Park. The wood booths and stage were constructed on site and previously owned carpet was laid on the floor of the stage so that the entertainers would not have to worry about splinters. The 30-foot stage backdrop featured one-of-a-kind Hawaiian scenery across the stage, painted by Moana & Bob Smith.

Melvin Prestige and Ron Toguchi provided $4,000 in seed money to get things going. Al Pelayo represented our community before the City of Los Angeles, which has jurisdiction over North Hollywood Park, the ho‘olaule‘a’s first venue. Pelayo would also be instrumental in securing Alondra Park, the present day site of the ho‘olaule‘a, with help from the late Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn and Gardena Councilman Mas Fukai; many other club members volunteered to get things started.

The Hawaiian Inter-Club Council of Southern California (HICCSC) was formed for the sole benefit of Hawaiian clubs in Southern California and Nevada, and took on the kuleana to administer the ho‘olaule‘a. The HICCSC has no individual members but currently has 26 member clubs that provide direct service to our Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Island communities here in Southern California. For these member clubs, the annual ho‘olaule‘a is their biggest fundraiser.

We have 15 food booths that sell a variety of island foods (no duplicated menus), over 200 craft and boutique vendors, game booths for the children, and courtesy booths for organizations providing service to the community. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department estimates the crowd size at about 40-50,000 people over the two-day period.

Mahalo to Sam Rosero, Ray Patacsil and John Kaulukukui for their reflections of how HICCSC started.

On our 40th anniversary year, we are excited about our accomplishments and acknowledge the work of our community leaders to preserve and share our Hawaiian heritage.