2012 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival: Monday, April 16, through Sunday, April 22, at the Deauville Beach Resort, Miami Beach. For more information, go to RumRenaissance.com.
It’s funny to see the reaction when people find out that The Hukilau, the 11th annual Tiki and rum-soaked weekender in Fort Lauderdale, has been moved to the same week as the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. “Whatever will we do?” Why, drink more rum, of course.
Last year, there was a good six-week buffer zone, so our livers had time to recover. This year, however, it’s a full-on rum onslaught. On April 19-21 (Thursday through Saturday), rum will flow liberally at The Hukilau’s beachside host hotels, and during nightly parties at The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale. Rum cocktail authority Jeff “Beachbum” Berry will highlight The Hukilau’s tropical-themed symposiums with his latest history lesson on the Zombie.
Meanwhile, less than 30 miles away on South Beach, the largest gathering of rum experts in the world will take over the ritzy Deauville (where the Beatles once played for Ed Sullivan) with VIP parties, competitions and “grand tasting” events. Rum Renaissance Festival organizers promise a bigger and better event this year with almost twice the square footage in the main exhibit hall, and many more rum brands from around the world.
Now in its fourth year, Rum Renaissance features a full week of activities not only at the Deauville, but at clubs around South Beach, an island lifestyle showcase of vendors and products, celebrity seminars, workshops and the opportunity to rub shoulders with industry dignitaries and notable experts.
There’s also “Tiki Time at The Mai-Kai” on Wednesday, April 18, from 5 to 9 p.m. The Hukilau revelry typically starts unoffically on this evening anyway, so all the more reason to kick off the long weekend early.
Also of interest to Hukilau attendees will be the Saturday-Sunday “grand exhibition” of the best rum brands in the huge Deauville ballroom. The Atomic Grog attended last year and we can guarantee it’s worth the price of admission just to taste the dozens and dozens of sample rums and cocktails from around the globe. Admission also includes all the celebrity seminars, cocktail competitions and the vendor area.
* Click here for tickets.
The weekend grand rum tastings are scheduled for 1 to 7 p.m., so Hukilau loyalists should be able to work it into their schedule and not miss out on any of the evening events or nightly Mai-Kai parties. Sunday afternoon offers a good opportunity to head down to Miami after The Hukilau winds down.
By the same token, Rum Renaissance attendees may want to check out the Tiki madness happening in Fort Lauderdale. The Hukilau offers ala carte tickets for all its various events. I would highly recommend The Mai-Kai and The Hukilau’s great nightly entertainment over late nights on stuffy South Beach.
We took the liberty of mapping a route from The Mai-Kai to the Deauville Beach Resort. Just be sure to line up a designated driver or take a taxi if you plan on overindulging.
Rum Renaissance Festival 2011 recap
* Full coverage of the 2012 Hukilau | All our posts about rum
* We be Jammin: Rum Renaissance Zombie fest at The Mai-Kai
* Photos from the Zombie Jamboree at The Mai-Kai