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The event itself is sold out, but a rehearsal show is open to paying members of the public.

STAFF PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Dancers perform at the 57th Annual Luau at Pacific University last year. This years show is already sold out, but tickets are available for the rehearsal show April 13.The annual Lu'au at Pacific University is almost certainly the school's biggest and most popular community event.

Not surprisingly, it has a tendency to sell out early, said university spokesman Joe Lang — the last tickets were snapped up late last month. But in light of that popularity, and the limited event capacity, Lu'au organizers give members of the public an opportunity to get a sneak peek at the sights and sounds of the traditional Hawaiian celebration Friday, April 13.

A rehearsal show is open to members of the public for $25 in cash at the door of the Stoller Athletic Center, 2331 Main St. in Forest Grove, opening at 6 p.m. next Friday. It won't feature all of the performances scheduled for the Lu'au on Saturday, April 14, and it certainly won't feature the sumptuous Hawaiian feast that attendees at the main event will enjoy, but it's a prime opportunity for community members who missed out on a Lu'au ticket this year to still enjoy some live entertainment courtesy of student performers.

"The sights and sounds of it are really authentic as it gets," Lang said.

The Lu'au is a large-scale production on campus. Pacific students who plan the event get plenty of help from the university's extended network of alumni and supporters in Hawaii, where Pacific maintains a Honolulu office (a sizable minority of Pacific students are from Hawaii or are of Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander descent).

The Lu'au is organized by Na Haumana O Hawai'i, Pacific's Hawaiian student culture club since 1959.

"There's a lot of work that goes into it," said Lang. "It's essentially a year-round endeavor for the Hawaii club, and also for staff and others here."

He remarked, "We don't really have any quantitative ability to prove it, but we believe it to be one of the largest luaus on the U.S. mainland. You know, I think if you haven't experienced it before, it really is a tremendous event."

The Lu'au on April 14 will feature a feast of kalua pig, chicken long rice, haupia and other Hawaiian staple dishes from 4:30 to 6 p.m., followed by dance and music performances in the Stoller Athletic Center at 6:30 p.m., which will include pieces from the April 13 rehearsal show and more.

There will also be a "Hawaiian General Store" set up in the Stoller Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, offering pineapples, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and other island delicacies flown in from Hawaii.

This will be the 58th annual Pacific University Lu'au.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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