Kalea Quinores, who is with the Northwest Hawai’i Ohana, let me know what’s happening for this year’s Winter Gathering, which takes place Sunday, Dec. 6, at Bellingham’s American Legion Post 7 on West Bakerview Road, near Bellingham International Airport, and is open to the public.
Quinores is on the board of the NWHO and is a hula dancer who will be dancing Dec. 6.
The last Winter Gathering was in 2013. Last year, Quinores says, the board decided to focus on its largest annual event, the Bridge of Aloha Festival, which takes place in May and has become bigger and bigger.
Students in hula classes perform at the Winter Gathering and the Bridge of Aloha Festival.
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Quinores describes Northwest Hawai’i Ohana as a nonprofit organization whose focus is sharing the “Aloha Spirit” in the northern part of Washington, specifically Whatcom and Skagit counties.
“We give out two yearly educational scholarships, which are available to the community,” she says.
Members sometimes hold fall and spring hula classes and varying workshops, with a ho’ike (show or recital) as a class finale. The spring class is always invited to perform at the Bridge of Aloha Festival, and the fall class performs at the Winter Gathering.
Quinores says there are currently seven board members, but volunteers are always needed, and some board positions will open up in January. The organization’s annual general meeting will be in January, when elections will be held.
Anyone can join Northwest Hawai’i Ohana; there are no membership fees or dues.
Along with their biggest event, the Bridge of Aloha, members have been trying to have monthly social gatherings to mingle with members, and there’s a well-attended annual summer picnic, Quinores says. Everyone is welcome to join.
“Because we are a nonprofit, there are no membership fees or dues,” Quinores says. “All that is needed is for the interested party to fill out a joining form on our website.”