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5 unique things to experience at the Polynesian Cultural Center

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The Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, features a variety of interactive and memorable activities for families. Here are five unique points of interest to experience when visiting the PCC, with information about each provided by the center.

1. Statue of Hamana Kalili: At the entrance of the PCC stands a tribute to Hamana Kalili, a highly regarded community leader who lived from 1882-1958. He is considered to be the father of the shaka, a hand gesture made by extending the thumb and pinky fingers while tucking the three middle fingers into the palm, according to information from the PCC. It came about after Kalili lost his three middle fingers in a sugar mill accident. While working security for the railroad, he would wave his right hand (middle fingers missing) to signal all was clear. Later, Kalili would shaka to visitors while playing King Kamehameha in Laie's Hukilau event. The waving gesture caught on locally and gradually spread beyond through countless island visitors. The shaka can mean variations of hello, hang loose, OK and how are you? according to the PCC. Leroy Transfelt, a New Zealand native and former BYU-Hawaii student, created the statue.

2. Statue of Joseph Kekuku: A short distance from Kalili's statue, visitors will find another statue of a man holding a musical instrument. Joseph Kekuku (1874-1932), also from Laie, is credited with inventing the Hawaiian steel guitar, according to the PCC. His efforts to share this new sound helped popularize Hawaiian music around the globe. More than 60 years after his death, Kekuku was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.

3. Polynesian Football Hall of Fame: One of the newer additions to the PCC is the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, an exhibit with memorabilia, stories and videos honoring Polynesia's best coaches and players. Today, there are more than 60 NFL players of Polynesian ancestry, according to the Polynesian Hall of Fame.

4. Food at the Hukilau Marketplace: The Hukilau Marketplace includes more than 40 shops, eating establishments and activities in the spirit of Hawaiian hukilau tradition. The PCC added the marketplace in 2015, and food choices now range from garlic shrimp, fried fish and Poi Boy Dogs to fruit-flavored shaved ice, chocolate macadamia nuts and pineapple half-moon pies.

5. Fireknife dancers: One of the hottest and most dazzling aspects of the PCC is watching the fireknife dancers (children and teenagers as well as adults) perform at the night show, luau and other events. The PCC also hosts annual competitions for the world's most skilled twirlers and jugglers of the burning blade.

For more on PCC events and activities, visit polynesia.com.

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