top of page
  • What is the PICA Bay Area Aloha Festival? 
    Each year thousands of islanders and islanders-at-heart gather to celebrate the culture through music, dance, arts and crafts, authentic food, and educational workshops. Due do covid restrictions and protocols, we will be having a one day Bay Area Aloha Concert.

  • When and where is it this year?
    August 10-11, 2024, San Mateo County Event Center (SMCEC), 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403.


  • Why did you move the festival from the San Francisco Presidio to the San Mateo County Event Center (SMCEC)?  
    Construction changes at the San Francisco Presidio have resulted in a two-thirds reduction of parking spaces.  This change made it impossible to accommodate the large number of people who
    drive to our festival.  SMCEC is the home of the annual San Mateo County Fair and has over 2500 parking spaces available.


  • What is the new Aloha Festival layout at the San Mateo County Event Center?
    The Aloha Festival will be held outdoors in its entirety. The entertainment stage is in front of the Central Mall Lawn area, food vendors will be in the West Parking Lot, and the Community Booths and Arts and Crafts vendors will be out on the Central Mall Lawn area and the surrounding area. The East Parking Lot at 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403 is the parking lot that all attendees should use. Walk to the entrance at Gate 8. The West Parking Lot is strictly for Food Vendor booths only.


  • How do I get there?  
    Click here for driving and mass transit directions.  If you have a Global Positioning System (GPS) in your vehicle, you can type in the address above.


  • Is there a charge for admission?  
    $5 suggested admission with children 12 & under FREE for Bay Area Aloha Festival entry.


  • Where do I park?  
    There is a large parking lot at the festival site, where paid parking is available for $20.00 per vehicle; an extra charge applies if your vehicle uses more than one slot. We encourage using carpools or public transportation.


  • Help, I lost my kid, my wallet, my friend!  
    There are various things you can do: 1) Speak with onsite security guard or go to our information PICA booth located Gate 8. PICA staff members and security all have radios to request for assistance. You may also go to the main stage where we will make announcements for you. 2) Go the PICA Information booth outside Fiesta Hall facing the entertainment stages).  The staff working there have radios to request assistance.  If we find your lost child or item, we will probably meet you at one of those locations.


  • How do I find out who is performing and what workshops are happening?  
    On the days of the event, go to the PICA Information Booth outside the Fiesta Hal.  We also post vendor, entertainer, and workshop information on our website as we get closer to the event and confirm schedules.  See the main Aloha Festival web page for details.  

  • Do I need to sign up to take a workshop? Is there a cost?   
    No signup is necessary and all workshops are generally free unless they have a material or supply component. Please refer to the schedule when it's available.  A few of the workshops are music-oriented, so bring your own `ukulele and sing and play along! A schedule of workshops will be available on our website  and you may also inquire at the Information Booth.


  • Where can I buy a raffle ticket?
    We will be selling raffle tickets at this year's Aloha Festival. Please go to the info booth.

  • Is alcohol served or allowed at Aloha Festival?  
    No. Aloha Festival is renowned for its relaxed environment that welcomes multi-generational family and friends, from keiki (young children) to kupuna (elders) and everyone in-between. To preserve the festival’s appeal for all ages and remain within our contract agreement, alcohol is not served and not allowed on the grounds.  So please help keep our festival safe by not bringing any alcohol.  Mahalo!


  • Are there other restrictions on what's allowed at Aloha Festival?     
    In addition to the no alcohol policy, you may not bring or use alcohol-like substances (`awa or kava, etc.), illegal drugs, glass containers, nor weapons on the premises.  We will not attempt to write an exhaustive list.  The restrictions basically boil down to not allowing items or substances that can cause you to lose control or make you a danger to yourself or others.  Security guards will inspect coolers, backpacks, and bags.  All disallowed items must be returned to your vehicle or disposed of.


  • What is the set-up for viewing the entertainment? Can I bring my own lawn chair and blanket?
    Entertainment is present on one stage and seating is picnic style on the ground on the Central Mall Lawn Area in front of the stage. Since the festival does not provide any lawn seating, you are welcome to bring your own flat (no legs), low-back lawn chairs and blankets. However, we ask that you participate in the spirit of aloha during the event by taking care not to block others' views, to take only the space you need, and to kokua (help) by keeping the pedestrian walkways clear.  If you must use a higher chair, please sit toward the sides of the lawn so as not to block the view of the audience behind you.  There are sidewalks along both sides of the lawn for wheelchair access, and we will try to place some benches there too.


  • Where is the nearest ATM machine?      
    ATM machine locations: Outside near the information booth and the outdoor Food Court.  Many vendors take only cash, so be prepared.


  • Is there a place where I can sit and eat lunch?    
    You’re welcome to bring a blanket and sit on the various lawns or use the picnic tables and benches that will be located around the venue.


  • Am I allowed to bring my own food and drinks?  
    Yes.  We understand families are on a budget or some individuals may have specific dietary requirements, so we are maintaining our policy of allowing outside food and beverages.  Of course, we'd love to have you support our Food Court vendors and drink booth too!  But please remember that alcoholic beverages, alcohol-like substances, and glass containers are not permitted anywhere on the festival grounds.  San Mateo County Event Center actually has restrictions on outside food and beverages, but they were kind enough to relax that restriction so families can  continue to enjoy our event.

  • Can I bring a pet?  
    Sorry, San Mateo County Event Center does not allow pets on the premises.  Of course, service animals are always allowed.


  • Can you describe your Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance?      
    The parking attendants can direct you to ADA parking spaces near the entrance gates.  Most areas of San Mateo County Event Center allow wheelchair access, and Fiesta Hall and Expo Hall have ADA-compliant restrooms.


  • Why might I be asked for a donation?  
    The Aloha Festival is brought to you by the Pacific Islanders’ Cultural Association (PICA), a volunteer, dedicated to preserving the Pacific Islander culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. Everyone associated with the festival -- organizers, entertainers, and workshop presenters -- provide time and talent to make this community event happen. Instead of charging admission, we ask for donations  to help support PICA's scholarship program and defray the cost of holding the festival each year. Donations can be made at the information booth.


If you have other items you think we should add to this FAQ, please email us suggestions at  Mahalo nui loa! (Thank you very much!)   

We look forward to seeing you soon!


Frequently Asked Questions

bottom of page