Pacific Islands Festival

I’d like to alert fellow ITN readers to the upcoming 9th Pacific Islands Festival of the Arts. It’s held every four years by 27 island nations (including Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia) to meet and greet each other and share their traditions and cultures. It’s not really for tourists, but you can’t keep something that colorful a secret for long.

I’ve been to the last two (held in Western Samoa and in New Caledonia) and can’t wait for the one this year. It will be held in Palau and will run July 20-Aug. 1, ’04. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for July 24.

I go for the opening and closing ceremonies, but you can go for either a six- or 11-night stay. An estimated 2,500 performers (singers and dancers) will be there along with family members and government officials.

The last time I attended, I passed by a table at lunch and took a heavenly sniff of a gardenia lei that one of the officials was wearing. I mentioned that I used to grow those when I lived in Florida. I was startled when he arose and insisted on giving me the gorgeous gardenias, which I proudly wore for several days.

If anyone wants more information, they can contact Keith Tucker, co-owner of Acacia Travel (3272 Rosecrans St., San Diego, CA 92110; phone 800/243-6996 or 619/225-1233, e-mail or visit He happens to be my one and only travel agent, even though I live in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.