Celebrating a final luau for 'Big George'
A South Bend tradition, 13 years long, is coming to an end tonight but not before one last luau.
To kick off the holiday weekend, hundreds of people made their way to George Lealiifano’s home in the city’s south side.
Since 2004, "Big George was the organizer of a community-wide luau, up until his death in 2015.
“It became a traditional thing it’s like his way of giving back for welcoming him here to the south bend area," said Chester Heater, George's youngest brother.
Heather says "Big George," a Polynesian power lifting world champion, moved to the states in the early 90’s
An it didn’t take long for Michiana to embrace hi, and his culture.
“He felt out of place but the south bend people made help him feel comfortable," said Heather.
To return the favor, George began throwing luaus in his backyard on the first Saturday of each July, to make sure a celebration of his culture was also a celebration of the country that took him in.
"The fourth represents freedom to be in this great country and to be able to celebrate freedom and bringing together that’s whats its all about," said Heather.