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Marshall Islands to headline APCC’s 23rd Annual Asia Pacific New Year Celebration

Island celebration in Tacoma coming

Some of the 3,000 local Marshallese celebrate in their traditional dress. Photo courtesy Asia Pacific Cultural Center

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When Asia Pacific Cultural Center was founded over two decades ago, one of its first major events was created to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Now in its 23rd year, this Annual Asia Pacific New Year Celebration, usually held at the Tacoma Dome with as many as 10,000 attendees, is going virtual with a free week-long series of presentations beginning every day at 11 a.m. on Facebook Live and YouTube from Feb. 8 through Feb. 13.

"When faced with the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions, we were saddened to think our traditional New Year Celebration would not be possible," said APCC Executive Director, Faaluaina Pritchard. "We couldn't let that happen. So, we took our experience in Facebook presentations from the last few months and tweaked our typical event to fit a virtual world."

Exciting performances from 17 different countries will be presented. APCC represents 47 nations, and each year a different country is selected as the featured host country for this annual event. In 2021, the Marshall Islands is being featured which includes decorations and artifacts adorning APCC's building and an entire day dedicated to demonstrations and performances about their culture.

The Marshall Islands are achain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, located between Hawaii and the Philippines. It is estimated that nearly 3,000 Marshallese people live in Washington state, with heavy pockets in Auburn and Sumner.

According to Brenda Kelek, a leader in the local Marshallese community, "We are a community that loves to celebrate, especially Christmas and New Year, so we were especially excited to be selected as the featured nation for the APCC New Year Celebration." She added, "This year's virtual presentation will allow people around the world to learn about the Marshallese culture."

The Washington Lutôk Kobban Alele organization is partnering with APCC to showcase the Marshallese culture. Audiences will be treated to a traditional Marshallese dance that requires the permission of their King to be performed. The Marshall Islands national anthem will be sung by a group of students performing from the Marshall Islands.

Another leader from the local Marshallese community, David Anitok said, "While the Marshall Islands are COVID-19 free, the leaders of our nation are excited to share this virtual New Year Celebration with APCC to uplift our communities in the U.S. and to encourage them to remain resilient and to stay safe."

The 23rd Annual Asia Pacific New Year Celebration featuring the Marshall Islands is sponsored by St. Michelle Winery, Multicare, The City of Tacoma Arts Commission, Alaska Airlines and many more.

More information about this event and Asia Pacific Cultural Center can be found on their website at:


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