May brings spring flowers and the start of Denver's growing season, but you won't find the delicate orchids used for traditional Hawaiian leis growing anywhere around these parts. For a true tropical experience, head to the Second Annual Lei Day Celebration this evening at the Denver Police Protective Association Event Center, 2105 Decatur Street. Organizer Maile Inagaki, owner of the lei shop Little Grass Shack, at 910 Santa Fe Drive, says she started the celebration to bring back the old traditions of lei giving as a form of greeting, and has since decided to incorporate other elements of Hawaiian culture into the festival.
Lei Day is Hawaii's version of May Day, and while Hawaii marks it with floats and parades, Denvers version will have a lei fashion show, food from L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, and the Kalama Polynesian Dancers presenting a native showcase from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and New Zealand.
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The event kicks off with three workshops at 4 p.m.: a lei-making class for $15 and Tahitian and Samoan dance workshops for $10 each. Dinner and the show begin at 5 p.m.; admission is $25 for adults, $20 for children twelve and under, or $40 for a VIP ticket, which includes a workshop, reserved seating, a cocktail and a fresh flower lei greeting.
Advanced tickets can be purchased at Little Grass Shack or, for $5 more, at the door on the day of the event. Reservations for the workshops are recommended. For more information, call 720-974-4090 or visit www.spreadingaloha.com.
Sat., May 16, 4-11 p.m., 2009