oaaOn Sunday, July 17, the Okinawa Association of America (OAA) will host its annual Members Picnic at Whittier Narrows Park in South El Monte.

Featuring live entertainment, kids’ games and races, raffle drawings, and Bon dancing, it’s a perfect place for reunions or a Sunday outing with family and friends. Non-members are also encouraged to attend and apply for membership at the picnic.

The picnic has been a tradition for OAA members since the 1930s, bringing together hundreds of local Okinawans and Okinawans-at-heart. Over the years, the OAA expanded this event with the addition of its high school scholarship awards, and this year marks the 10th year of hosting the only Okinawa-style Bon dance in Los Angeles. The dancing includes eight distinct choreographies with live music by sanshin musicians and eisaa drummers.

In addition to traditional Okinawan performing arts and karate, this year’s entertainment will feature a special guest duo from Japan: Mamoru Nema and Atsuko Motomura, who are originally from different parts of Okinawa, but now living in Osaka, performing Okinawan minyo folk music.

The program will also feature two musically talented brothers, Shigeru and William Logan; a dynamic dancer, Ai Teshima; and a local young talent who is trained in traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music, Kalyn Aolani.

Bring your family and friends, lawn chairs, blankets, and happi coats to Whittier Narrows Park, 750 Santa Anita Ave., Area E-1, South El Monte, for this year’s OAA Picnic. The event opens at 10 a.m. and the program is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On-site parking costs $6. Optional bento lunches ($10) and raffle tickets ($1) can be pre-ordered by contacting the OAA office at (310) 532-1929 or oaa.mensore@gmail.com.

Grand prize for the raffle: four one-day passes to Disneyland. Entertainment schedule and Bon dance practice videos available at oaamensore.org.

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