Mai-Kai history event joins the party as inaugural Mod Weekend kicks into gear

Mod Weekend, the March 15-17 celebration of Fort Lauderdale’s mid-century architecture and style, is shaping up to be a whirlwind of activity with several events selling out and additional activities added to the mix, including Saturday’s “Mai-Kai: History, Mystery and Adventure” seminar.

The Mai-Kai under construction in 1956

The Mai-Kai under construction in 1956. (Photo courtesy of The Mai-Kai)

While not officially part of Mod Weekend, the presentation by Mai-Kai historian Tim “Swanky” Glazner will fit right in with the theme of recognizing the historical significance of this Polynesian treasure, which was built in 1956. The restaurant’s Molokai lounge will open at 2 p.m. for a special happy hour, followed by the narrated, multimedia slideshow at 3 p.m. in the grand showroom. Seats are limited, so call (954) 563-3272, ext. 1, to make a reservation. Admission is free.
* The Mai-Kai’s Facebook event

The event will also be a reunion for Mai-Kai “veterans,” with many former employees who worked there as far back as the 1950s expected to be on hand. On Sunday, Mod Weekend returns to The Mai-Kai on its double-decker bus tour. The first tour was sold out, so a second has been added, according to the official website. The tour will include another presentation by Glazner as well as a walking tour of The Mai-Kai’s extensive dining rooms, gardens, and Polynesian artifacts. The weekend’s festivities wrap up Sunday night with a closing party at The Mai-Kai at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 for the bus tour and $25 for the closing party. Go to ModWeekend.com for the latest information on tickets and availability.

The Mai-Kai today

The Mai-Kai today.

Mod Weekend’s “Mod Men” opening party on Friday and boat tours of the Intracoastal Waterway and Fort Lauderdale’s residential canals on Saturday and Sunday are also sold out. But there are still plenty of other activities on the schedule, including lectures and films on Saturday and Sunday evenings at the Gateway Theatre ($8 per person), and free happenings during the day in the North Beach Village area of Fort Lauderdale Beach. “Beach Blanket Babylon” (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) will include a vintage car show, antiques market, guided tours, and more. Check out our previous post for more details.

Mod Weekend

Based on the sellouts, Mod Weekend promises to be an annual highlight on the March calendar. It was organized by editor John O’Connor and sponsored by Tropic magazine, which covers the South Florida architecture, interior design and art scenes. It is co-sponsored by North Beach Village, a hot zone of mid-century modern architecture that will be ground zero for the event activities.

Meanwhile, over at The Mai-Kai, guests will pay tribute to the storied Tiki supper club that was created in 1955 by master mid-century architect Charles McKirahan. Built on a deserted stretch of Federal Highway, The Mai-Kai has amazingly stayed frozen in time over the decades as homes and businesses surrounded it. Now, its being considered for the historic designation that truly befits its status as a Fort Lauderdale and Polynesian Pop landmark.

Official sites
* Mod Weekend | Tropic magazine | North Beach Village
* The Mai-Kai | Mai-Kai reunion and history presentation

Related stories on The Atomic Grog
* New event celebrates Fort Lauderdale’s mid-century modern architecture, style

Past Atomic Grog coverage
* Heeeeeeere’s the rich history and lost stories of The Mai-Kai
* Exclusive tour of The Mai-Kai’s bars and kitchen
* Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide | See all our Mai-Kai posts

About Hurricane Hayward

A professional journalist and Florida resident for more than 30 years, Jim "Hurricane" Hayward shares his obsession with Polynesian Pop and other retro styles on his blog, The Atomic Grog. Jim's roots in mid-century and reto culture go back to his childhood in the 1960s, when he tagged along with his parents to Tiki restaurants and his father's custom car shows. His experience in journalism, mixology, and more than 20 years as an independent concert promoter make him a jack-of-all-trades in the South Florida scene. A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, Jim is a longtime web producer for The Palm Beach Post. In his spare time, he has promoted hundreds of rock, punk, and indie concerts under the Slammie Productions name since the early 1990s. In 2011, he launched The Atomic Grog to extensively cover events, music, art, cocktails, and culture with a retro slant. Jim earned his nickname by virtue of both his dangerous exotic drinks and his longtime position producing The Post's tropical weather website.
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