Despite weather, tropical spirits soar at luau

Tinker Public Affairs -- Tropical music, friendly faces, hula dancing and a whole roasted pig where all accounted for, so the only thing missing from this year's Asian Pacific American Heritage luau was the sunshine reflecting gently off the clear blue ocean and the saltiness of the warm pacific breeze. 

Instead, the Tinker APAH community celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Saturday with a tropical celebration at the golf course picnic grounds. 

"This is our one chance during the year to share our culture with the community," said emcee Lt. Dave Bautista, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center Engineering Directorate, a native of Oahu, Hawaii. 

Guests from all backgrounds were encouraged to attend and learn about Asian Pacific culture. 

APAH chairperson Sgt. Mariza Fox, 552nd Operations Support Squadron, said their organization is very small compared to some of the other minority associations, and the luau gave the group a chance to showcase their culture. 

"We want to increase cultural awareness around the base and let other people, both civilian and military, know that we are here too," Sgt. Fox said. 

The celebration included a potluck buffet of traditional Asian food, face-painting and several dance demonstrations. 

Dances varied in style from the traditional Chamorrita Girl, a dance representing the natural beauty, talent and charm of the native island girls of Guam, to the more modern hula, Pate Pate, a flirtatious and enticing dance between groups of young men and women. 

A group of 4- to 6 year-old girls also danced to Pearly Shells, the traditional first hula dance introduced to young girls. 

Many people attended the event, ate and had fun while expanding their knowledge of Asian Pacific culture.