Lido, Leis, and Love

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A group of participants from the Lido Marina Village Hakus & Love lei po’o class show off their flower crown creations.
— Photo by Jaylee Clarke

Enjoy a Hawaiian summer activity without ever leaving Newport Beach at a workshop next week.

Lido Marina Village is hosting a lei po’o class on Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The workshop will be led by Valerie Barrow, founder of Hakus & Love, a local business that specializes in the flowery Hawaiian head crowns.

It’s a great summer activity, Barrow commented, doing something with nature, working with flowers and natural materials.

“Come down and try it out and learn something new,” Barrow said.

Valerie Barrow, founder of Hakus & Love, teaches a lei po’o class at Lido Marina Village.
— Photo by Jaylee Clarke

It feels appropriate for the neighborhood, she added. It’s a beautiful art in a beautiful ocean community.

The class is one of many seasonal activities and events planned for the summer at Lido Marina Village, 3434 Via Lido. The lei po’o workshop will be held on the Lido deck, overlooking Newport Harbor between Nobu and Zinqué.

Participants will learn how to make their own traditional Hawaiian lei po’o (lei worn on the head) or haku (braided ferns with flowers facing out, traditional in a crown shape) using an abundant selection of fresh tropical flowers.

Guests will receive one-on-one instructions and have full creative freedom to create their own one of a kind lei.

The workshop will include a variety of flowers, including Hawaiian tea leaf, different orchids, plumeria, ferns, roses, and seasonal flowers.

“Whatever is pretty at the market,” she said.

Participants will learn different patterns and techniques for weaving the leis.

Kids and adults of all ages and skill levels are welcome.

“It’s definitely a beginner’s class in lei making,” she explained. “The trickiest thing you’re doing is a basic braid.”

Lei makers will also get a sense of the culture during the class, Barrow added, the same as she did when she learned to make the flowery art.

Born and raised by the ocean, Barrow’s mom put her in hula classes. She wanted to live out her “island princess dreams.” There she learned to make leis, lei po’o, and haku.

Along with art of braiding flora, she was taught Hawaiian customs and traditions.

“It instilled a respect (and love) in me for the culture,” Barrow said.

A Lido Marina Village Hakus & Love lei po’o class participant models her flower crown creation.
— Photo by Jaylee Clarke

Much later in life, Barrow started to make them for fun as a creative outlet, she noted. Soon enough, her friends discovered her talent and asked if she could make a lei or haku for them.

“Now I run Hakus & Love,” she concluded. “So I can share that love (of Hawaiian culture and traditions) with others.”

Since leis and hakus are often worn for special occasions, like a wedding, birthday, or graduation, Barrow is often a part of some big moments.

“It’s an honor to be a part of others’ celebrations,” she said.

Barrow primarily hosts private classes, for bridal showers, birthdays, etc. This is the second ticketed, public workshop she’s done, although she hopes to do more. Her inaugural class was on the Lido deck last month.

Class maximum of 18 people. Tickets are $55 per person. No refunds, please double check the calendar and quantity before purchasing.

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