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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    HAPI brings the islands to UA Mall with Luau and Polynesian Festival

    HAPI brings the islands to UA Mall with Luau and Polynesian Festival

    If you’ve ever wanted a taste of the Pacific islands, or simply long for a bit of tropics in your life, the UA Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Club (HAPI) has you covered.

    Partnering with Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue, HAPI will host its annual Luau and Polynesian Festival from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, which will feature native entertainment from the Hawaiian islands like halaus, or hula dancers, as well as student performers such as rapper Perris Howard, a physiology sophomore and employee at Mama’s.

    HAPI will also be holding a raffle with prizes of a Kindle Fire tablet and tickets to Disneyland Park. Held on the UA Mall, the luau should be a festive event for all.

    “We’ve had events at local parks around campus in the past, but this is the first time on the Mall,” said Anthony Basilio, the luau coordinator for HAPI and a marketing senior. “This is the biggest we’ve ever done it.”

    The club is expecting a turnout of 200 people, as over half of the available pre-sale tickets have been sold.

    However, the entertainment and giveaways aren’t the only reasons to attend. The pre-sale price of $10, or $15 at the door on Saturday, also includes a buffet-style Hawaiian feast catered by Mama’s. For anyone who has frequented the distinctive pink-and-white building on Speedway Boulevard, it’s clear that this is a steal, as Mama’s menu includes delicious Hawaiian staples like spam musabi and kalua pulled pork.

    Mama’s is also an avid supporter of the student extracurricular community, hosting percentage nights for clubs such as the Eller College of Management, Arizona Water Polo and Alpha Kappa Psi.

    In 2012, Mama’s held its own Polynesian Festival to great local acclaim. It’s joining forces with HAPI this year to increase the turnout for the event while reaching out to the student community.

    “Mama’s has been a great supporter of the club, so we wanted to cooperate and combine the events and reach out to the Hawaiian community at the UA and in Tucson,” Basilio said.

    HAPI has been in existence since 2009, when it was called the Hawaii Club. It expanded to include residents of all Pacific islands in 2010. This is the fourth year that the club has held a luau, with proceeds going not just to the club, but into the Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community at the UA.

    “Usually we break even, but if we make profit, it will go back to the club, maybe to scholarships — especially to those coming from Hawaii or other islands,” Basilio said.

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