Kalama Heritage Festival

Aloha to visitors, guests, and friends of the Kalama Heritage Festival!

The continuation of this event following a challenging year promises to be a fun, educational, and fulfilling experience for all. Despite Covid and the work of Bills recovery following a stroke, our goal of hosting a free festival & a
 concert for all while providing support to our musicians and vendors continues and is well underway.

PLEASE NOTE that in lieu of a ticketed event this year..the goal of hosting a FREE FESTIVAL AND CONCERT for all while providing support to our musicians, local and traveling from Hawaii, the non-profit performing Jimi Hendrix Music Academy, artists, lecturers, canoe families is in the works.

This goal will be made possible in part by our donors. To offer the amenities, events, and financial support to our artist brothers and sisters, we have given ourselves a goal of $75,000, and look forward to meeting it by Jun 30th. Together we can aid the musicians and vendors who suffered economic hardship over the past year as their industry took a hit, and connect with one another in celebration after a year of solitude.

Tier 1, any amount - KHF program guide and thank you note

Tier 2, $300 or more - An invitation for VIP access to the meet-and-greet after the concert with the artists at the after-concert reception

Your support would be greatly appreciated, and we look forward to sharing Aloha with one another this year in Kalama.
(You may deny any additional tips or additional fees that GoFundMe requests to fund them and does not go to our fundraiser)

On behalf of the Kalama Heritage Festival
Bill and Gloria Nahalea

What is the Kalama Heritage Festival?

The Kalama Heritage Festival is a beautiful, culturally rich event that celebrates the impact on the Pacific Northwest region by the Hawaiian Kanaka (humans/workers) that were brought over by the Hudson Bay Fur Trading Company in the mid-1800s. It honors the blending of the cultures between Kanaka and the Pacific Northwest Native Americans. Bill and Gloria Nahalea, the founders of the festival, spent many years researching the progression of the coming together of these two vital peoples. It wasn’t easy, as there simply was not very much information available at the time. Their passion for wanting to learn kept them searching, and because of this, they were able to connect with descendants of the original Kanaka. They were rewarded with many captivating stories, particularly involving a very renowned Hawaiian named John Kalama. John’s story is representative of the other thousands of islanders’ stories of that era. The Nahaleas felt that this rich, fascinating history needed to be shared, particularly within the Native American societies because many of them weren’t aware of this part of their heritage. In 2005, the Nahaleas were approached by Don Purvis, the former city council decided that an effective way to share what they had learned would be to host an event that would celebrate the traditions and history of both cultures and how they have merged into one. John Kalama’s namesake, the town of Kalama in Southwestern Washington, which overlooks the scenic Columbia River was the obvious choice for a venue. 

The festival opens with the traditional Native American Permission Ceremony by the Kalama Canoe Family, featuring Leimomiwaiwainui, in honor of Zelma Kalama McCloud, a descendent of John Kalama. Several generations have carried on with the canoe tribal ceremonial traditions and they continue to be a moving element of the festival. It is a beautiful Legacy of the Heart.

Since its inception, The Kalama Heritage Festival has been successfully accomplishing what the Nahaleas had intended; to educate both the indigenous tribes and the public about the vibrant history of these two cultures and how they have become intricately intertwined, growing into a distinctive culture unto itself. The festival benefits and blesses all involved with it by giving those present a chance to experience the true aloha spirit of love and welcoming acceptance. It supports the vendors and performers in their livelihood and builds tourism in the Kalama community.


---ENTERTAINERS, ARTISTS, AUTHORS, LECTURERS, MC, include:  Bobby Moderow, Jerome Koko (of Makaha Sons), Keoki Kahumoku, Northwest Blend, Halau Hula O Keala'akua Naniloa Mana'oakamai, Kimo Da Kupua Mele Music, Tina Hendrix of Jimi Hendrix Music Academy, Strum ukulele Group, Hslsu Hula O Napualani, JD Puli, Ft. Nisqually Museum, Leimomiwaiwainui Kalama Canoe Family, and more....

---Several Native Tribal groups including Nisqually, Cowlitz, & Puget Sound area tribes that have supported us in the past are excited to participate again this year with their dance, music, chants, and drumming.

---Jimi Hendrix Music Academy, Renton, offers FREE music lessons & the use of musical instruments to youths.
STRUM-" Ukulele Kids Club" is an international gold star non-profit that puts new ukuleles in the hands of hospitalized children all over the world for a lifetime of healing. More information on this amazing club will be there. Ukuleles that help sponsor their cause will be there for sale and a donation for the songbook if you wish to.

---Ft. Nisqually, Tacoma, staff will be dressed in the clothing typical of the mid-1800’s Hudson Bay Fur Trading Company. They will be offering fun games, arts, and crafts of the era.

---Keoki Kahumoku-slack-key guitarist and ukulele performer will be performing his music and sharing stories about pig trapping. He is a former grammy award winner

---The IMU-   An annual favorite event = watch  A traditional Hawaiian oven used for cooking an entire pig underground!

---A variety of food and retail vendors from all over!

---And many more performers, classes, workshops, and activities!


As previously mentioned, Bill and Gloria Nahalea are the founders and producers of the Kalama Heritage Festival. In October of 2020, while driving during his workday, Bill had a stroke. It left him with hemiplegia on his right side (paralyzed) and with aphasia, which affects his speech and ability to communicate. One of Bill’s favorite things in his life is the production of this very unique and wonderful festival. Because of Bill’s health and the challenges with the pandemic, the Nahaleas did not anticipate holding it this year. As a therapy project, Gloria suggested he do a “pretend” festival, which would give him practice speaking, planning, and organizing, which would help strengthen his memory and give him the motivation to keep working on getting better. Bill, though, decided to put a teaser out of Facebook about it and the response was incredibly positive and overwhelming! So they explored the possibility of moving forward with it. After talking with the Port of Kalama and other members of the planning committee, it was clear that holding the festival this year is a much-needed reprieve for the intense challenges our world has been facing due to covid. Of course, all laws about safety, gatherings, and social distancing are being followed. The venue is outdoors with enough room to keep space between each other. It will be two days long to allow more people to come safely.

A Personal Note From Gloria:

“There is also another, very important reason why the Kalama Heritage Festival is needed. Bill is such an inspiration, not just to me but to all those around him. We want others who have health issues such as Bill’s to see that there can be hope, that they don’t have to give up on their lives, and that they can still have a rich, full life, even though it will look different than what they had planned on. We want to be a testimonial that our native, traditional healing arts blended with music, singing, and energy work, really does work. Our ancient kupunas knew so much, and I appreciate what they have shared with me and that I could apply that knowledge with Bill.  Clearly, when I look at Bill and his progress in his recovery, I am so thankful for our kupuna and their ancient ways, because when applied, they lead to results. I see them with Bill. I’m so, so proud of him and I’ve actually been calling him my poster child because he’s done so well.  I’m so pleased and so happy to watch him feel happy, accepting of where he’s at, what he’s doing, and still feeling fulfilled, and that he still has a lot to contribute.  I’m just excited to see how this can all come together with your contributions. I want to stress again that we are committed to making the Kalama Heritage Festival a safe, covid friendly event. Should the pandemic take such a turn for the worse that we would be forced to cancel, any funds raised would go next year’s festival.”

Time is short. Normally, a festival of this caliber takes all year to plan, but because of the way this has come about, we only have a few months to make it all happen. In addition to all the normal planning, we also need to assure that all the accommodations for the laws regarding covid are handled properly. We desperately need your help in order to be able to move forward with the bookings and all the intricate aspects of planning an event such as this. We want this to be a free festival, for families to come for a day of fun and cultural enrichment, music, games and R&R.  We want to support all of our performers, both the local ones as well as several that are coming in from Hawaii. We need to be able to pay the performers and all the other folks and businesses that contribute and make this event a reality. We thank you from the very center of our hearts for any amount that you are moved to contribute to support the Kalama Heritage Festival!

*There will be more information on  Bill’s recovery and the impact it has made on their lives at the festival. It has been a truly remarkable journey of love, patience, challenge, and joy.


Bill Nahalea
Kalama, WA

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