big at San Francisco
baseball park luau
San Francisco celebrates
'Hawaii Day' as Giants fans are
treated to hula and food
See also Island ImagesBy Greg Ambrose
Special to the Star-Bulletin
SAN FRANCISCO -- It was a bonus day in San Francisco yesterday. The Giants won their baseball game against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-3, and the state of Hawaii won hundreds of new fans.
When the midmorning sun burned the fog off of Candlestick Point, fans arriving at 3Com Park were startled to see people clad in leis and island apparel doing the hula as Hawaiian music filled the air.
The occasion for the Polynesian festivities at 3Com Park was Hawaii's 40th anniversary as America's 50th state. But the reason was, well, to have a good time.
"We wanted to do something fun, so we just said, 'Let's have a luau at the ballpark to celebrate Hawaii's 40th birthday,'" said Isabelle Lemon, spokeswoman for KNBR radio, which sponsored the event.
The radio station enlisted the help of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, which contributed cash and logistical support. Bay area hula halau and musicians donated their time, talent and aloha, and potential visitors to the Aloha State were treated to a taste of what awaits them across the ocean.
The stadium staff easily slipped into the party mode, with enough aloha shirts to let 3Com Park do a credible masquerade as Aloha Stadium. Malihini and Hawaii expatriates alike sported orchid and cowrie shell leis, while dancers were distinguished by special haku leis.
Food booths that passed out free island culinary treats were swarmed, while booths featuring demonstrations of lei making and palm frond weaving were equally popular.
Onstage, Keolalaulani Halau Olapa Olaka of San Francisco performed a kahiko hula to the music of the East Bay group Ka Ehu Kai.
Hula Halau O Kuuleinini of San Carlos took the stage for its inaugural public performance, with a special spectator. Gov. Ben Cayetano was dressed for a party, wearing an aloha shirt, slacks and comfortable walking shoes.
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown awarded Cayetano a certificate proclaiming yesterday "Hawaii Day" in the city. And after Kauai entertainer Glenn Medeiros sang the national anthem, the governor was tapped to throw the game's first pitch.
"I just want to get it there," the governor responded when asked whether he was leaning toward a slider or curve ball. "I haven't thrown anything in a long time. I've been told to aim high."
The Visitors Bureau was also aiming high with this slice of paradise in the Bay area, and the entrancing sounds and sights of Hawaiian culture hit their mark.
"It really makes you want to go, the music, the dancing -- especially the guys who were dancing earlier," said Debra Johnson of San Rafael. "I really want to go to Hawaii now."