2017 OAA Members Picnic, Scholarship Awards, Okinawan Bon Dance

Artwork by Teak Oliver

Okinawa Association of America’s Annual Members Picnic
Sunday, July 16 • 11AM ~ 4PM (opens @ 10) • Whittier Narrows Park

750 Santa Anita Avenue, Area E-1, South El Monte • On-site parking fee: $6



The picnic has been a tradition for OAA members since the 1930′s, 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 the only Okinawan style Bon dance in Los Angeles. Featuring live entertainment, games/races, a youth art contest, and raffle drawings, it’s the perfect event for reunions or a Sunday outing with family and friends!

Photo by Eric Takushi

Reasons to attend the picnic:

  • Great place for reunions
  • Soda and bottled water for $1 each
  • Raffle tickets for $1 each ~ Grand Prize: 4 passes to Disneyland!
  • Free snow cones (while supplies last)
  • Free hot dogs for kids under 10 (while supplies last)
  • Games and races for all ages ~ prizes for all!
  • Performances from local talent
  • The only all-Okinawan Bon dance in Los Angeles featuring live music

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This year’s picnic would not be possible without the generous donations of our sponsors!  Sponsorship helps us to offset our expenses including the mobile stage rental.

Would you like to be a sponsor?
Download the sponsorship form (PDF/92KB)

$500 – Red Sponsors
the color of the Prefecture flower and flag
Oki Dog (Los Angeles)

$250 – Green Sponsors
the color of the rich landscape and vegetation of the islands
Miyashiro Enterprises, Inc. (Torrance)

$100 – Blue Sponsors
the color of the seas surrounding the islands that provides the abundant sealife

Brenda Yoko Higa
Pelican Signs (Manhattan Beach)

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Live Performances: (subject to change)

Members of Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Los Angeles Branch (photo by Ben Higa)

Family Activities:

  • Children’s games and races ~ prizes for all!
  • Photo booth
  • Bingata craft corner
  • Youth art contest (ages 17 and younger)
  • Men vs. women tug-o-war

Photo by Eric Takushi

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Raffle tickets are only $1 each! All funds raised from raffle tickets will go toward our yearly activities as well as much needed maintenance and repairs for our organization’s buildings.

Attendance is not required for the raffle drawings (winners will be informed by phone or email after the picnic).

Please download the order form (PDF/1.3MB) and raffle tickets sheet (PDF/421KB) and submit them with your payment to the OAA office.

2017 Picnic Raffle Prizes WHT BKG

This year’s GRAND PRIZE:

  • 4 One-Day Park Hopper Passes to DISNEYLAND and CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE! ($628 value) – Donated by the Walt Disney Company

More great prizes include:

  • 2 tickets to Six Flags Magic Mountain ($166 value) – Donated by the Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
    • Valid until 12/31/2017
  • 1 Ohana tenor ukulele ($180 value) – Donated by OAA member Steven Awakuni
  • 1 Ohana concert ukulele ($120 value) – Donated by OAA member Steven Awakuni
  • 1 Ohana concert ukulele ($120 value) – Donated by OAA member Steven Awakuni
  • 1 Go For Broke Family Prize Pack ($160 value) – Donated by the Go For Broke National Education Center
    • Includes 2 family passes to their Defining Courage Exhibition (valid until 12/31/2017), 2 documentary DVDs, Nisei Veterans’ Cookbook, commemorative coin, and 50-piece puzzle
  • 1 children’s bicycle ($100+ value) – Donated by OAA members James and Mary Ishiara
  • 1 children’s bicycle ($100+ value) – Donated by OAA members James and Mary Ishiara
  • 1 one-year family/dual membership to the Japanese American National Museum ($75 value) – Donated by the Japanese American National Museum
  • 2 tickets to the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants ($64 value) – Donated by Kamiya Insurance Agency
    • Only valid on 7/29/2017, 1:00 PM, at Dodgers Stadium
  • 4 weekday tickets to the 2017 Los Angeles County Fair ($56 value) – Donated by Fairplex
    • The L.A. County Fair runs from 9/1 – 9/24/2017; the Fair will be closed on Mondays (with the exception of Labor Day) and Tuesdays
  • Plus gift cards, kitchen appliances, and more!

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Bringing a large group to the picnic? For convenience, optional bento lunches are available for $10 (pre-order only). Each lunchbox includes:

  • BBQ chicken
  • Shoyu-miso pork
  • Rice
  • One (1) free drink

Download the bento pre-order form (PDF/1.3MB) and submit that with your payment to the OAA office. The postmark deadline for bento pre-orders is July 7th.

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2017 will mark the eleventh year of Okinawa-style Bon dancing at the OAA Picnic! The origin of Bon dancing is a Buddhist ritual to soothe the souls of ancestors during the summer Bon (or Obon) Festival.

Regardless of age or experience, everybody is invited to participate! The movements are repetitive and everybody dances in a large circle, with experienced dancers leading in the center. Live music is provided by sanshin musicians and eisaa drummers.

Get a head-start and practice the dances at home! Click here to watch our practice videos.

Okinawa Bon Odori Practice Videos

Tentative Practice Schedule @ the OAA Center’s Higashi Building:

  • Friday nights (June 16th, 23rd, and 30th, July 7th and 14th)
  • Starting at 7:30 PM
  • Practices may be cancelled due to low turnout (please call the OAA office to confirm the practice schedule)

If you are interested in learning the parankuu (hand drum) choreographies and can commit to participating at the picnic on July 16th, please contact the OAA office to arrange for lessons: 310-532-1929, oaamensore@gmail.com

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  • THEME: Wan Uchinaa Yaaninju (My Okinawan Family)
  • DEADLINE: Postmarked or delivered to the OAA office by July 7 or brought to the picnic on July 16
    • Ages 17 and younger
    • Parents must be current OAA members
    • Original artwork only
    • Artwork size no larger than 18” x 20”
    • Artwork can be done with crayons, pastels, watercolor, or Tempera paint
  • PRIZES: One gift card in each age category

Last year’s art contest winners (photo by Eric Takushi)

Tell us about your Okinawan family! For example: Does your family participate in any cultural traditions? What part of Okinawa did your ancestors come from? Is your family multicultural?

Learn more about Okinawa and Okinawan immigrants at the OAA Library (open weekdays, 10AM – 4PM).

Download the application form (PDF/1.1MB)

1st place winners in each age category will be awarded at the OAA Picnic, 7/16, Whittier Narrows Park! All submissions will be displayed at the park that afternoon and then at the OAA Center in Gardena.

NOTE: Submissions can be picked up at the OAA Center in Gardena from July 31st ~ December 22nd. OAA reserves the right to use all submitted artwork in future products and/or promotional materials.

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