Minimalist Tiki

Hukilau returns to June, historic ‘Yankee Clipper’ in 2013

Next year’s Hukilau will feature several changes that will return the annual gathering of the Tiki tribe in Fort Lauderdale to its roots: The 12th annual event will move from April to June, and it also will be centered around the Sheraton Beach Hotel, better known as the Yankee Clipper.

Hukilau 2013

Tickets are on sale now for the June 6-9 event at, and “passengers” are also being encouraged “book a stateroom aboard the Yankee Clipper” to ensure a prime spot at this extravaganza of vintage Polynesian Pop.

After five years in early June, the event was held in April last year and was centered at the Best Western Oceanside on the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach. But with interest in mid-century culture still blooming, a move was made for 2013 to include the Sheraton, one of South Florida’s most iconic hotels. It will serve as the host hotel and will be the center of the action for most of the Hukilau activities. Guests will also receive perks for staying at this oceanfront classic, home of the legendary Wreck Bar and its enchanting mermaids, aka Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid’s Underwater Swim Show.

Hukilau attendees booked at the Yankee Clipper will receive priority entrance and seating into symposiums, a private cocktail party with a sneak peak of the Tiki Treasures Bazaar and Hukilau art show, “Shipwrecked in Paradise.” They will also get a free “Welcome Aboard Package” containing a souvenir Yankee Clipper cocktail glass among other one-of-a-kind goodies. Though the Best Western right next door will also be hosting Hukilau guests, you must be booked at the Sheraton to take advantage of the offers listed above. And the only way to be authorized and to get the special $119 Hukilau room rate (per night, based on double occupancy) is to CLICK HERE to make your reservations. Or check The Hukilau accommodations page for more info.

Modern Caribbean Rum
A vintage photo of the Yankee Clipper, now the Sheraton Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.
A vintage photo of the Yankee Clipper, now the Sheraton Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. (From

Of course, The Hukilau will also include activities at the legendary Mai-Kai restaurant, including the traditional Saturday night main event. Among the other events planned for the weekend are:

* The return of tropical drink historian and author Jeff “Beachbum” Berry with a special cocktail symposium. “Wild West Indies” will feature insights he gathered while researching and writing his upcoming book, Potions of the Caribbean.

* Another symposium by Paul Roe of Britishink Tattoos. His subject for 2013 will be “The Urban Primitive.”

* Special aquatic performances exclusively for Hukilau by Marina and her mermaid friends, including a “midnight swim.”

* Live surf and exotica bands performing poolside at the Yankee Clipper, plus The Mai-Kai, including longtime favorites The Intoxicators from Tallahassee and newcomers The Hula Girls from California.

Hukilau guests catch a performance by Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid at the Wreck Bar in the Yankee Clipper in June 2010
Hukilau guests catch a performance by Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid at the Wreck Bar in the Yankee Clipper in June 2010. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

* Symposiums on the history of the Yankee Clipper and the culture of vintage Hawaiian shirts, a live tiki carving, the Tiki Treasures Bazaar featuring vendors from across the country, the fine art show, rum tastings, hula and mermaid lessons, plus more still to be announced.

Event tickets are available online now and range from $20 for some symposiums to $150 for a Yankee Clipper all-access pass that gives you admission to all events Thursday through Sunday.

Hukilau 2013 will be dedicated to the life and memory of Tiki carver extraordinaire Wayne Coombs, who passed away last month at his studio in Cocoa Beach. Wayne was a Hukilau supporter from day one and will be missed.

We’ll have lots more on the Yankee Clipper’s colorful history, plus full previews of Hukilau 2013 in the coming months.

Hukilau links | Facebook page | Facebook group | YouTube | Event photos
* Past Atomic Grog coverage

One Reply to “Hukilau returns to June, historic ‘Yankee Clipper’ in 2013”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.