The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was held in San Francisco in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, as well as support San Francisco’s recovery from the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire. The Exposition looked to the future for innovation. Things we take for granted today – cars, airplanes, telephones, and movies – were in their infancy and were shown off at the fair, and some well-known technological luminaries were involved in the fair.
The San Francisco Exposition was also the launching site for broader awareness of hula ‘auana, contemporary hula – it was featured in the Hawaii exhibits. There, ‘Princess Lei Lokelani’ performed traditional foot movements – ku‘i and ‘uwehe – to modern ‘ukulele and steel guitar songs – this also launched the hapa-haole (half “foreign”) hula phenomenon into broader markets. The Hawaiian Pavilion was at the corner of what is now Baker Street and Marina Boulevard in San Francisco’s Marina District.