Oceanside, CA – In reception of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, multiple non-profit organizations have come together to create the First Annual Southern California Asian & Pacific Islander Festival in the city of Oceanside. The festival will be an all-day event on April 29 at the
Civic Center, and free to the public. The Artist Alley will be activated as a part of the experience along
with various nearby small businesses.
Events to include two main performance stages, martial arts demonstrations, a family cultural activity center by Studio ACE, various ethnic food and artisan vendors, a literacy program by the Oceanside Public
Library, and an interactive experience by the Oceanside Museum of Art. In respect for our senior population, the event will have a quiet shaded lounge area to provide rest and refreshment.
A collaborative initiative begun last year from both Kevin Shin and Ilima Martinez. The vision was simple;
to educate Southern California of the beautiful cultures and traditions that originated from the Asian and
Pacific Islander communities.
The festival’s mission is an expansion of Umeke, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, with a vision to educate local communities of Hawaiian culture through cross-cultural learning, along with working towards the equity and advancement of all marginalized and underserved populations. The founder, Ilima Kam Martinez, established Kuhai Halau O’Ilima (KHOI) in Vista, where she teaches about the Hawaiian culture primarily in the performance art of Hula.
Kevin Shin is the owner of The Switchboard Restaurant in Downtown Oceanside, and saw an outpouring
of support as he opened his Hawaiian-Korean fusion establishment in what could be considered the worst
possible time, 2020.
As a member of the executive board for the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, Shin has felt compelled to
return the favor of generosity by giving back to the community. “As a Marine Corps veteran, I have a deepseated love for the City of Oceanside. There is no better place to hold this event where we can look out to the vast Pacific and know there is family here and on the other side.” Shin also serves as a board member of KOCT and participates with the various community organizations.
“As we enter 2023, this decade has presented so many challenges throughout our communities. We seem
to be in a time where there is an incredible need to remember the traditions of our cultures, share a sense of humanity to a visceral level, and find commonality even when experiencing differences,” says Shin.
Oceanside is home to one of California’s fourteen cultural districts. With an eclectic and emerging art
scene and a diverse population, the city of Oceanside is perfectly situated in between metropolitan San
Diego and the Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside County regions. This is an ideal location for this event
as almost every Asian and Pacific Islander nation is on the side of the Ocean.