PCC to celebrate 50th anniversary in 2013
The Polynesian Cultural Center, which was dedicated on October 12, 1963, will celebrate its golden anniversary throughout 2013 with special events, new features and a weeklong reunion in September that’s expected to draw thousands of alumni back to Laie.
The PCC in 1963, just before it opened: The building in the
lower-left (now the Hale Aloha Alii Luau venue) was the
Center’s first night show theater. Moving counter-clockwise,
the Samoan, Maori and Fijian Villages are still in the same
location, but all the other villages have moved over the years
with the 1976 expansion and new additions.
A lot has changed over the past five decades: The Hawaiian and Tahitian Villages moved when the Center expanded from its original 12-acre footprint to 42 acres in 1976 — stretching out in both directions parallel to Kamehameha Highway. That expansion also created room for the Marquesan tohua and Pacific Theater where Ha: Breath of Life now shows, as well as the buildings that eventually became The Gateway Restaurant and our food services facility. In the 1980s we added the Hawaii Mission Settlement, and a few years later the Tongan Village (upper left corner in the picture above) shifted to make room for our large-format theater.
Over the years the Cultural Center has also featured new canoe pageants, special events and evening shows — all in the tradition of showcasing the incredible talents of our vibrant, young islanders, most of whom are students at the adjoining Brigham Young University Hawaii.
In fact, it can be said that the Center was developed 50 years ago not so much as a visitor attraction but as a place to provide the young students with the means to help finance their education and gain meaningful work experience.
For a number of years in the 1980s, we flooded the stage in our
original night show theater and moved the canoe pageant
off the lagoon.
At one point in the first decade, somebody dubbed that process the “aloha experiment,” but if it ever really was that, the formula was long-ago proved: Almost 18,000 BYUH students have helped work their way through school at the PCC since 1963, and in that same period more than 36 million visitors have enjoyed meeting them.
Today, there are many second, third and even fourth-generation workers at the Cultural Center . . . waiting to introduce you to their respective island heritages. Many of them speak of a love for this special place: They love working here, and sharing their cultures. They love meeting you when you come, and they look forward to the next 50 years.
50th anniversary reunion: Unlike a lot of other work places, that aloha carries over long after the students graduate and move on; but they never forget the Polynesian Cultural Center. We hope you won’t, either.
For instance, when we held a major reunion in 1993 for our 30th anniversary, hundreds of alumni came back once again to get reacquainted and dance on stage in an unforgettable alumni night show. Ten years later, in 2003, we did it again for our 40th anniversary, only this time there were thousands who came back. What a great event!
So, from September 1-8, 2013, we’re going to hold an eight-day 50th anniversary reunion, that includes:
- Firesides and other meetings befitting our Mormon heritage.
- Concert series
- An alumni reception, ball, and luau
- A golf tournament
- Opportunities to work back in old departments
- A community parade
- And, of course, two alumni night shows — one for the first 25 years’ group, and the other for alumni from the second 25 years.
For the complete schedule, please go to http://www.pcc50.com/schedule.html
For more information, click on the URL to our 50th anniversary website, http://www.pcc50.com. In addition to our reunion schedule, this special site also includes:
We realize not every one can come who would like to, so we hope to capture as much of the fun, flavor and spirit of the event in the website, which will remain posted for a while after the 50th anniversary.
Join us online. Submit some of your own old photos, or “talk story” by sharing your own memories of the Polynesian Cultural Center. Aloha.