After going virtual in 2020 and moving to a September weekend in 2021, The Hukilau is back on track with its traditional early June gathering of the Tiki tribe in South Florida.
The East Coast’s longest-running Tiki weekender will return to the cozy Beachcomber Resort & Club on the ocean in Pompano Beach for its 19th live event on June 9-12. The four-day format will remain similar to the Sept. 16-19 meet-up, which featured most of its activity in the many outdoor spaces at the 140-room boutique hotel. Once again, the entire resort is reserved for The Hukilau’s “villagers,” said organizer Richard Oneslager, noting that several other nearby venues will also be available for “the growing number of villagers” who continue to flock to the event each year.
Exclusive early access to reservations at the Beachcomber will be offered first to longtime villagers, Oneslager said. After “loyalty guests” have a chance to reserve rooms, the remaining inventory will be offered to the general public along with a streamlined menu of event tickets.
Oneslager promised the return of most of the event’s signature features, including a full slate of symposiums and musical guests, 15 pop-up bars from around the world, a massive vendor marketplace, plus a signature luau on the beach. Expect to see some new faces along with many popular returning entertainers and VIPs from the past, including everyone’s favorite global rum ambassador.
Unfortunately, The Hukilau 2022 will likely not include any events at The Mai-Kai, the beloved Fort Lauderdale restaurant that remains closed for a multimillion-dollar renovation expected to be completed later this year, Oneslager said. The ongoing work on the historic property will prevent it from hosting guests, he said. But he was happy to announce that The Mai-Kai will host a pop-up bar and bungalow party. In addition, the new ownership team will share the refurbishment plans in an exclusive presentation.
The Mai-Kai hosted its last outdoor cocktail party in the restaurant parking lot during The Hukilau on Sept. 18, just before announcing the partnership with Miami’s Barlington Group and Mad Room Hospitality that will pump more than $5 million into restoring the 64-year-old landmark. A severe storm in October 2020 caused a roof collapse over the kitchen, crippling the back-of-house operations and forcing the founding Thornton family to seek out its new partners.
In addition to The Mai-Kai pop-up featuring the restaurant’s classic tropical cocktails, villagers will have the opportunity to sample many other drinks crafted by some of the Tiki scene’s top mixologists from bars near and far. The Beachcomber’s quaint bungalows will also host parties thrown by rum sponsors and other groups every night of The Hukilau.
Event passes will cover most of the weekend activities for one price, including symposiums and unlimited cocktails. Details on tickets, entertainment and the daily schedule will be announced along with general public room reservations.
The schedule will again include daily pool parties and a Sunday brunch, plus several new activities. The Tiki Treasures Bazaar will return on Saturday and feature more vendors than ever, Oneslager said. This will also be the day The Hukilau welcomes locals and guests without multi-day tickets.
The coronavirus pandemic necessitated the move to the smaller Beachcomber Resort after five years at the massive Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, which closed for extensive renovations right after The Hukilau 2019. Villagers loved the “more personal, intimate experience” in September, Oneslager said, indicating that the new hotel may be more than temporary.
The oceanfront location and vast beach makes The Hukilau unique among the major Tiki weekenders. The resort – family owned for 60 years – offers a range of lodging options: vintage seaside motel rooms, standard hotel rooms, condo rentals, and Airbnb.
And once The Mai-Kai reopens, it’s just a short jaunt across the Intracoastal Waterway to Tiki heaven.
UPDATED COVERAGE: The Hukilau announces entertainment lineup as tickets go on sale for 19th Tiki weekender
The East Coast’s longest-running Polynesian Pop event will feature live music (The Surfrajettes, The Intoxicators, The Manakooras, King Kukulele), symposiums (Ian Burrell, David Wondrich), 18 guest bars, rum tastings, luau on the beach, pool parties, Tiki Treasures Bazaar, plus more on June 9-12.
The Hukilau 2021 recap
The Hukilau 2021: Daily recap, photos and video
The Hukilau returned to the picturesque Fort Lauderdale area oceanfront for an 18th time Sept. 16-19 for four days of Polynesian Pop paradise in America’s vacationland.
Zombie party is final challenge for The Hukilau villagers
The Hukilau finale featured live surf music and deadly cocktails at the “Hereafter Party at Death or Gory in Hellray Beach.”
Atomic Grog event previews
* Death or Glory scares up spooktacular Sunday after-party
* Tickets still available, symposiums and schedule announced
* The Hukilau returns with new oceanfront hotel, event at The Mai-Kai
The Hukilau: Past coverage
Photos: 10 highlights from The Hukilau 2019 in Fort Lauderdale
* 2019: Photos and video from social media
* 2018 social media recap | More highlights
* 2017 daily recaps, news, photos and video | More highlights
* More recaps: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2002-2008
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