The Okinawa Association of America (OAA) will host their fourth annual craft fair on April 29 (Saturday), 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the OAA Center’s parking lot in Gardena.
Though smaller than other craft fairs, this outdoor boutique stands out in that it will include Okinawa-themed items such as accessories, art prints, bags, buttons/pins, clothing, greeting cards, postcards, stickers, and more. The organization hopes that this will be a big draw, as Okinawan items are rarely available at local stores, festivals, and other craft fairs.
The OAA also hopes that the event will provide an unintimidating, community-based platform for youth artists, independent creators, and hobbyists to showcase their talents. (Vendors listed below)
This event is being led by Melissa Oshiro Tran, one of the OAA’s youngest volunteers. Currently a sophomore at CSU Long Beach, Melissa says “My mom bringing me to all the meetings and events to volunteer, led me to coordinate an event like this. I’m truly thankful that there are places like OAA to teach people of all ages about themselves and sharing their culture.”
“Melissa volunteers for several of our event planning committees, but the Annual Craft Fair is her personal project which really utilizes her personal interest and artistic talents,” commented Yuko Yamauchi, the OAA’s Executive Director. “We are so proud to see the event evolve along with her. It’s so exciting to see the new crafters and artists that join us as vendors each time.”
In addition to learning practical skills and meeting new friends, Melissa’s countless volunteer hours at the OAA have inspired her to study traditional Okinawan patterns and ways to implement those into her own work. “Learning about [our] heritage is important because if we don’t learn, I believe that we will never truly know a part of ourselves,” the young artist added. “[The craft fair is] not just an event for fun, but one to share our culture through our expression of art with everyone.”
The OAA Center is located at 16500 S. Western Ave. in Gardena. The event will be held outdoors in the parking lot. Street-side parking only. Masks encouraged. Pets not allowed. For more information, please contact the OAA office: email@example.com, (310) 532-1929. Follow the OAA on Facebook/Instagram @oaamensore
The Okinawa Association of America, Inc. (OAA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving and promoting Okinawan culture. Formed by first generation Okinawan immigrants (issei), the OAA has grown into a multi-generational organization that hosts numerous events throughout the year including cultural lectures, performances, social gatherings, and senior-focused activities. 2019 marked the organization’s 110th anniversary as well as the 20th anniversary of the OAA Center in Gardena.
Confirmed Vendors (subject to change without notice)
Aimee Buday, Kim Kobashigawa, Monica Solis: Coasters, greeting cards, stickers, pins, bags, napkins, scarves, placemats, ornaments, towels, table runners, pillows, keychains, bookmarks – @always_bee_weaving (Monica)
Cou.chan Art: Stickers, acrylic charms and pins, art prints – IG @cou.chan
Dushi-nu-chaa: Art prints, postcards, music, stickers, and more from national/international Okinawan creatives – https://linktr.ee/shimanchuplaylist
Hiro Melody Edington: Scrunchies, wood work, keyfobs, earrings, baby/toddler headbands
Rumiko Hirano: Handmade Okinawan print handbags and purses, handcrafted wooden cell phone stand, handmade crocheted socks and owl decoration from Okinawa, Okinawan chopsticks
Seiji Igei, Lasha Tamae: Illustrated prints, stickers, pins, temp. tattoos – IG/TW @seijigay @lashadraws
JooToo Clothing: Shirts, hats, hoodies, eco bags, phone cases – jootooclothing.com
Kansen Atae no Kai: Stickers, engraved wooden signs, keychains, kimonos – IG @kansenataenokai
Melissa’s Creations: Keychains, artwork, notebooks, stickers, pouches, bookmarks, pins – IG @melissatcreations
Natsuko Designs: Original ceramics (yard art, mugs, bowls, plates, cups, vases)
OAA: OAA merchandise, white elephant sale (not Okinawan)
Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Los Angeles: Shirts, stickers, small taikos, hoodies – FB/IG/TW @rmdlosangeles
Tierra Murra by Ecommshipments: Jewelry, microwave bowl holders, clothing (incl. upcycled kimono), Hip Hatz, luggage tags – tierramurra.com
White Mountain Treasures: Quilts, towels, mini lanyards, buttons
Yukino Yeganeh: Bingata print keychains, scrunchies, eyeglasses holders