Polynesian Cultural Center celebrates 50th anniversary - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Polynesian Cultural Center celebrates 50th anniversary

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It began with what many people thought was a wild idea, one doomed to fail: putting a cultural center in the middle of the country, some 40 miles from Honolulu.

37 million visitors later, and the Polynesian Cultural Center is more relevant than ever.

Monday marks the 50th anniversary of its opening.

"My feeling is one of appreciation for those who went before me".

Those words came from President and CEO Al Grace, who has been affiliated with the center for 30 years.  It began when he was a student performer in 1983.

"You kind of take the job they give you, and they looked at me and said 'you're going to be dancing in the night show' and I was like GULP!" he recalls.

Grace, and the PCC, has come a long way since those days.  After assuming his post earlier this year, he will oversee the completion of a five-year, $100 million renovation project.

Business has been good, as visitors to the center are up on the year.  That includes for the month of October, since the government shutdown began and several attractions in Hawaii have been shuttered.

However, Grace says he cannot attribute the spike in attendance to the shutdown.  What he can say, with confidence, is how all visitors are and will be treated.

"This ability to share the Aloha spirit with visitors is still going to be the foundation for every activity that we do at the cultural center" he said.

Not a bad stance as the Polynesian Cultural Center prepares for the next fifty years.

"It's a nice place to escape modern society, the hustle and bustle, and just relax and be yourself".


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