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Las Vegas: Celebrating Hawaii's Lei Day, Sin City-style

April 22, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • Hawaiians gather in downtown Las Vegas each May to celebrate Lei Day. It's May 1 in Hawaii but May 4 and 5 in Vegas.
Hawaiians gather in downtown Las Vegas each May to celebrate Lei Day. It's… (Boyd Gaming )

May 1 may be Lei Day in Hawaii, but in Las Vegas, it's May 4 and 5 -- at least in downtown Las Vegas at the California Hotel Casino.

The California Hotel will host a weekend of island-style activities from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Musicians and dancers will perform virtually nonstop, and vendors will be selling arts and crafts.

Attendees also can sample traditional island food and drink. Among the dishes for sale: kalua pig, lau lau, a pork dish wrapped in taro leaf; and hot malasadas, a sweet pastry.

The festival itself is free, but guests will need to purchase tickets for two special events. The Tahiti Taurua Nui Las Vegas Dance Competition begins at 7 p.m. May 4. Admission is $20. At 7:30 p.m. the same day, a concert will feature Hawaiian recording artists Gary and Sheldeen Haleamau, Na Hoa and Mark Yamanaka. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

For years, the California has welcomed a steady stream of tourists from the 50thstate, along with many of the native Hawaiians who now live in Sin City. Thousands relocated to Vegas for better job opportunities and a lower cost of living. Las Vegas is sometimes referred to as the “ninth Hawaiian island.”

For more information on the festivities, call (702) 385-1222.

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