Ricky Chang &
2007/4th Annual Blue Bridge Bash
They call it the Blue Bridge Bash because it is located close to the blue colored bridge that spans the mighty Columbia River and connects Kennewick, WA to its sister Tri-Cities town of Pasco, WA. What began many years ago as a small, backyard gathering of a dozen or so East of the Cascade Mountains Hawaiian Islander musicians/dancers and their ohana has slowly but surely evolved into the biggest such event in Eastern Washington! Since its inaugural, formal birth four years ago, the number of participants has increased ten-fold. Nearly a hundred and fifty people attended the 2007 B.B. Bash including some who came from as far away as Hawaii, Boise, Portland, Seattle, and California to join the core group from Yakima and the Tri-Cities, WA area.
While the success of the 2007 BB Bash is a result of the efforts and contributions of many, my Profile Guest this month is the man everyone agrees is the alaka`i/leader and chief coordinator for the BB Bashes past and present. Like the Energizer Rabbit we see in TV ads, our Profile Guest is constantly in a go-go-never slow down mode! He is a magnificent planner and a master at creating a “let’s work together as a team” environment. Not only do things get done efficiently, everyone involved enjoys themselves immensely. Most importantly, he is one of the most humble, down to earth guys I know!
His given name is Richard Manuel Chang, which of course, no one ever calls him by. This good looking, multi-ethnicity guy (part Hawaiian/Chinese/Portuguese/Filipino/ Irish) is known far and wide simply as Ricky Chang! Originally from Pupukea, Oahu, Ricky is a proud alumni of the Hawaiian Mission Academy in Honolulu where he claims he learned that the most important thing he could do in his life was to help and be of service to others!
Ricky first came to Eastern Washington in 1965 to attend Walla Walla College before moving on to Cal Poly Tech in Pomona, CA where he completed his college education. Like his educational endeavors, Ricky’s professional career meandered hither and yon. Primarily, his forte has been as a Business Manager/Administrator in the medical and educational fields with stops in Kailua, HI (13 years) and Boise, ID (3 years) and Santa Rosa, CA (2 years) and back to Walla Walla (6 years) and to his current Administrator position for the past 10 years with a Urology Clinic in Yakima, WA. Ricky met his lovely wife Marilyn (who grew up in Kailua, HI) when he was working at the hospital in Kailua (she was a nurse there). Marilyn and Ricky now reside in Yakima. Their son Makaio lives in Hawaii while their daughters Lokelani iscompleting her Law Degree work at Gonzaga University) and Leialohalani is a WSU student completing a degree in mass communications. Both daughters are graduating in May 2008. While Ricky is proud of his multi-ethnicity background, he is especially proud of his Hawaiian heritage which traces back to the Kukahiko ohana of Maui.
Ricky says that he will continue to help organize and coordinate future Blue Bridge Bashes because he wants to continue this traditional event where the “Eastern Hawaiian Islanders” (plus any others who want to come) can gather and sing and dance and eat and talk story in the old fashioned/laid back Hawaiian way! And the BB Bash is exactly that....easy on the eyes and ears with kanikapila (music and dance) that is continuous from about 5 p.m.-3 a.m. the first day (Friday-Saturday morning) and from 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. the second day (Saturday-Sunday morning). I must warn you that while it may be easy on the eyes and ears as the musicians and dancers are all superb, it is dangerous for the opu ‘cause the eating is also continuous (lasting as long as the kanikapila on both days and the food was so ono). My recommendation is to wear loose fitting clothing because you’re going to gain a pound or two (or more)!
Ricky says that credit for the success of the 2007 Blue Bridge Bash belongs to all who participated but especially to his “core group” action folks like Kumu Hula Onie Rendall (who lives in Kennewick and secured the VFW Hall where the event was held and whose Hula Halau Kamakahiwaokalani provided the primary hula dancers for the event) and Chef Wally Au of Yakima (really ono noodles) and Ed Horie (bass player/publicity/public relations guy) and the Suenishi’s (Sid and Sue) of Yakima who did all the “fill-the-gap” chores along with providing ono desserts and musubis and MikeHubbard, Steve Tayamen & Auggie (Kalua pig guys) and to lead musicians (from the Idaho area) Piko Johnson (Boise), Hank Nawahine (Fruitland), Rich Mansfield (Nampa) and especially to terrific & phenomenally talented musicianCarey Camacho of the San Francisco Bay area who operated the awesome sound system for the event and blessed us with his kihoalu styling of his original songs.
The Blue Bridge Bash may be small when compared to the Lokahi Ho`olaulea in Seattle or the Ke Kukui Hoike in Vancouver, WA but in many ways it is more like the old fashioned Hawaiian style ohana parties.......good fun, really up close and personal friendliness, great food and fantastic kanikapila! Congrats to all the East of the Cascades Hawaiian Islanders for an awesome Blast of a Bash and especially to Richard Manuel (just call him Ricky)Chang....Ricky: you da Man!!
Until next time, be kind to each other.........me ke Aloha pumehana..........Danny