Minimalist Tiki

The Hukilau gears up for vintage Tiki weekend with exclusive merchandise, new sponsors and added entertainment

The Hukilau

With just over a week before The Hukilau invades South Florida for its 12th annual vintage Polynesian Pop extravaganza, attendees can look forward to a great assortment of recently announced goodies from sponsors and the event organizers.

The Hukilau: June 6-9, 2013, at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel (Yankee Clipper), Best Western Oceanside, and The Mai-Kai restaurant. Tickets, schedule and updates at and Facebook.
Previous posts: The Hukilau crowns winner of Deadhead Rum Cocktail Contest
The Hukilau announces new art show, entertainers, more updates for Tiki fest in June

Angostura Rum and Bitters


Angostura Rum and Bitters has not only joined The Hukilau as a sponsor, the venerable spirits company is sending brand ambassador David Delaney to the event to mix up some special tropical cocktails. Look for Delaney at the Angostura booth in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar at the Yankee Clipper on Friday, June 7, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Also joining as a sponsor in 2013 is Barritt’s Ginger Beer, a classic Caribbean brand that will be featured in cocktails Thursday evening in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar. While you’re in the bazaar, keep an eye out for these cocktails and other special events, such as Saturday’s 1 p.m. memorabilia signing by classic pin-up photographer Bunny Yeager and mid-century Polynesian dancer and actress Nani Maka.

Previously announced sponsor Deadhead Rum will be hosting The Hukilau’s Official After Party at The Mai-Kai on Thursday, June 6, from 9 p.m. to midnight. There will be special Deadhead Rum cocktails served all night by guest mixologists from New York City, including the winning drink from The Hukilau’s recent contest for attendees. The party’s festive atmosphere will be amped up by Tallahassee’s The Intoxicators performing their infectious blend of high-energy instrument surf music. Deadhead is also an official vendor and will be providing tastings and selling their rum, which is not yet available in Florida and some other states, at the event in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar at the Yankee Clipper.

Ron Diplomatico

Another new rum sponsor, Ron Diplomatico from Venezuela, will be featured all weekend. Jeff “Beachbum” Berry will be using this great aged rum in cocktails during his symposium, The Wild West Indies, on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Yankee Clipper. And The Mai-Kai will be mixing cocktails with Ron Diplomatico throughout the weekend.

Returning sponsor Fee Brothers is providing many of its excellent products such as bitters and cocktail syrups for use by many of the mixologists during The Hukilau, including Beachbum Berry. Other sponsors include The Mai-Kai, Tropic magazine, Tiki Magazine, and South Pacific Promotions.


The Tiki Treasures Bazaar will be the nerve center of the event and will be open to guests of The Hukilau from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. In addition, guests staying at the beachfront Yankee Clipper can enjoy early entry for a special preview party at 5 p.m. Thursday. And for the first time in The Hukilau’s history, the bazaar will be free and open to the general public for all six hours on Saturday. The Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel is located at 1140 Seabreeze Blvd. on the south end of the beach near the 17th Street Causeway. [Map]

Mookie Sato's artwork
Mookie Sato’s artwork for the Bon Voyage: Sailing the South Seas show.

Located in two Yankee Clipper ballrooms, the spacious sponsor and vendor area will also be the home of “Bon Voyage: Sailing the South Seas,” a Tiki art show curated by The Hukilau’s organizer, Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White, and benefiting Abandoned Pet Rescue of Fort Lauderdale. There will be an artist’s reception on Thursday at 5 p.m. for Yankee Clipper guests and 6 p.m. for other attendees. Participating artists include Lisa Petrucci, Doug Horne, Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Dawn Frasier, Eric October, Thor, Junkhauler, Mookie Sato, Amore Hirosuke, Rod North, El Gato Gomez, Mateo, Jeff Chouinard, Robert Jimenez, Chris Chapman, Brian Potash, Nicholas Dewey, Dart Daugherty, Vikki Vaden, Vena, and more. Attendees can also have their portraits painted live by Erin Chainani.

Vendors from around the world flock to The Hukilau to sell their vintage and retro-themed goods. Be sure to take the time to check out the many booths scattered throughout the bazaar. This year’s participants include Deadhead Rum, Tiki Tower, Tiki Skip, Art & Alligators, Harold Golen Gallery, Livin’ a Dream, Tahiti Joes Hot Sauces, Basement Kahuna’s Annual Tiki Yard Sale, Johnnie Velour, PinUpalooza, EekumBookum, The Modern Historic, Roadside Attraction, Island Arts, Tiki Diablo, Tiki 65, The Green Tiki, Tropiki: A Florida Original, and New Atmosphere Productions.

As announced earlier, The Hukilau is being dedicated to the late, great Wayne Coombs, the legendary artist who left us in September. For 45 years, Coombs produced an army of his distinctive Tikis and other works of art at his Mai Tiki studio in Cocoa Beach. It’s fitting, then, that a live Tiki carving session has just been added to the schedule. Hosted by Tampa artist Jeff Chouinard, this carving demo will be held on Fort Lauderdale Beach on Friday at 3 p.m.


The Hukilau's Coconut Mug
The Hukilau’s Coconut Mug.

The bazaar is also the exclusive location of The Hukilau’s official merchandise booth. And for 2013, Tiki Kiliki has assembled a wide assortment of special swag for festival attendees. If you’ve already ordered a ticket, you’ve received a special link to order in advance. These items are in limited quality, so it’s a good idea to pre-order if you can. If not, you can see what’s left at the booth during the event. All merchandise is intended for pick-up at the event. Only if merchandise is left over after the event will it again be offered online and shipped.

In addition to the Official Mug (see below) The Hukilau is offering a special Coconut Mug in tribute to Trader Vic’s iconic drinking vessel. Featuring the distinctive event logo by Kevin Kidney, the mug is limited to 150.

Even more limited is a Snifter Glass featuring Kevin’s logo and artwork that was originally released for The Hukilau’s 10th anniversary in 2011. Only 40 are available for mixing up a Mai-Kai Black Magic, Mutiny or The Hukilau. Also returning in 2013 is a fabric design from acclaimed artist Shag that first appeared on clothing in 2010. The Shag Toss Pillow Cover, featuring the artist’s unique take on iconic images from The Mai-Kai, is a perfect decorative accessory for any Tiki room or mid-century pad.

The Hukilau's 2013 Official Pendant
The Hukilau’s 2013 Official Pendant.

The Official Pendant, like the Official Mug, is an interpretation of a Tiki found in the gardens at The Mai-Kai. Chris Chapman (aka Tiki65) created this wearable art that’s limited to a pressing of 150. The Hukilau’s Official Glassware for 2013 is a set of double old fashioned glasses that toast the Yankee Clipper’s own Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid. The artwork for the Official T-Shirt, like the glassware, was designed by Japanese artist Mookie Sato.


Perhaps the most sought-after of all The Hukilau collectibles is the Official Mug, designed annually by some of the Tiki world’s top artists. For the second year in a row, this functional work of art has been conceived and produced by Tiki Diablo, aka Southern California carver and mug producer Danny Gallardo.

The Hukilau's 2013 Official Mug
The Hukilau’s 2013 Official Mug features a faux lava rock coaster and LED light.

Gallardo out-did himself in 2013, producing a one-of-a-kind mug as a tribute to another great carver, mid-century icon Barney West. It’s based on the 50-something-year-old Tiki carved by West that lives in The Mai Kai gardens (see pendant above). “Barney was an old salt and larger than life character — just like his massive sculptures carved from immense redwood logs that dot the globe at some of the best tiki establishments,” Gallardo wrote on his website. The hand-applied finish emulates the patina that the carving has picked up over the decades in Fort Lauderdale’s tropical climate.

The mug, which holds 8 1/2 ounces of your favorite Tiki beverage (Gallardo suggests the Jet Pilot), has some fantastic features such as a faux lava rock coaster and LED light (see photo above). There were just 200 produced, 100 each in Sausalito Brown and Redwood Ember.

After 48 hours of exclusive sales to event attendees, it was released to the general public but nearly sold out in days. As of Saturday, the brown mugs were sold out. “We still have red mugs, but not a whole lot,” Gallardo wrote on Facebook. If you want your own copy of this historic piece of Tiki history, click here to order now.


The official mug is not the only thing in high demand at The Hukilau. Rooms at the Yankee Clipper sold out in April, and last week it was announced that all seats at the symposiums had sold out in advance.

This week, logistical issues also caused organizers to move Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s symposium to The Mai-Kai, unfortunately altering the day and time of two others. Berry’s presentation will now take place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, directly before the Main Event. It had also been announced that standing-room tickets would be made available, but this plan has been dropped. No more symposium tickets will be sold.

Beachbum Berry's Navy Grog Ice Cone Mold
Beachbum Berry’s Navy Grog Ice Cone Mold.

It was no surprise that Beachbum Berry’s symposium based on his upcoming book, Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them, is extremely popular. Berry is one of the pre-eminent speakers on Tiki cocktails and is currently in the midst of a world tour that included stops in Buenos Aires and Amsterdam.

At The Hukilau, Berry promises “a booze cruise through time to Panama 100 years ago, when canal workers met their maker in Colón’s notorious Bottle Alley … to Trinidad, Haiti and Cuba between the wars, where Don The Beachcomber and Trader Vic were inspired to create the Tiki drinks we know and love today … and to Jamaica in the Jet Age, where those Tiki drinks came home to roost in Montego Bay’s glamorous midcentury-modern resorts.”

As an added bonus, Berry will have 100 pre-releases of his new Navy Grog Ice Cone Molds for sale and will be autographing boxes after his symposium. This unique product, manufactured by Cocktail Kingdom, will be making its world premiere at The Hukilau. It takes all the bother out of making a perfect ice mold for a classic Navy Grog (or Yeoman’s Grog as it’s known at The Mai-Kai).

The symposiums at the Yankee Clipper include Tales of the Yankee Clipper at 4 p.m. Friday (previously on Saturday), Tom “TikiTomD” Duncan’s fascinating look at the 57-year-old vintage hotel’s rich history; and The Culture of Vintage Hawaiian Shirts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday by pop culture historian Gary Moss, proud owner of more than 300 vintage rayon Hawaiian shirts from the 1930s and 1940s.

Tattoo artist and historian Paul Roe will take attendees on a safari Hunting the Urban Primitive at 1 p.m. Friday to find out how ancient styles evolved and how they’re used today. Roe also announced last week that Tattoo Magazine will be attending and will be looking for Tiki-themed tattoos to photograph. In a reprise from last year, Roe will also be giving a special tattoo to Tiki Kiliki on Friday morning. The magazine will record the event and also photograph “villagers” and their body ink between 10 a.m. and noon.


Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid
Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid and one of her aquaticats as seen from the Wreck Bar at The Hukilau in June 2010. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid (Medusirena) is a fixture at the Yankee Clipper with her weekly swim shows in the pool just above the famous Wreck Bar. Viewable through portholes in the bar, her performances have been a favorite among locals and tourists alike. For The Hukilau, she and her co-performers (a “pod” of up to eight “aquaticats”) will be adding a pearl diving show at 11:30 p.m Friday to the previously announced late Thursday night (1 a.m.) and Saturday afternoon (12:30 p.m.) swims. At noon Friday, special guest Bre-elle Ishtar (aka Tiki Bree), who trained with former mermaids at the famed Weeki Wachee attraction in Central Florida, returns to the Yankee Clipper pool for the first time since 2006.

For many, The Hukilau wouldn’t be as entertaining as it is without the wide assortment of musical acts that come from around the world to perform. Last week, The NovaRays (an Orlando-based surf band) were added to the already stellar lineup. Look for them at The Mai-Kai on Saturday, June 8.

The NovaRays
The NovaRays

The most anticipated performance will be the U.S. debut of Ìxtahuele, a Swedish exotica group that just related their debut album, Pagan Rites. The band is dedicated to recreating the sounds of 1950s and ’60s classic exotica in the style of Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. [Click here to see the band’s first video from the album.] Catch Ìxtahuele on Friday night at the Yankee Clipper and Saturday night at The Mai-Kai.

Two California bands will be making their debut at The Hukilau in 2013. The Ding Dong Devils and The Hula Girls bring their unique brand of party music that includes surf, rockabilly and “hulabilly” influences to the East Coast Tiki crowd. Both will be performing Friday night at the Yankee Clipper and Saturday night at The Mai-Kai.

It wouldn’t be The Hukilau without the sizzling surf rock of The Intoxicators, who will be performing their traditional show-closing late-night set on Saturday at The Mai-Kai in addition to Thursday’s Official After Party at The Mai-Kai mentioned above.

Two mainstays of the South Florida’s small but burgeoning surf music scene also have slots on the weekend schedule. Miami’s Gold Dust Lounge (surf/spy/lounge) will be performing Thursday night at the Yankee Clipper. Deerfield Beach’s Skinny Jimmy & the Stingrays will close out The Hukilau with their traditional instrument surf tunes on Sunday afternoon at The Mai-Kai.

As always, presiding over the festivities will be master of ceremonies King Kukulele, a California-based comedian and ukuleleist who always keeps the energy level high and the atmosphere loose. You can’t miss the King, aka Denny Moynahan, in his ever-present aloha shirt, straw hat, grass skirt and lei. When you see King Kukulele in the house, you know the good times are about to begin.


The Mai-Kai's Polynesian Islander Revue
The Mai-Kai’s Polynesian Islander Revue. (Photo by

Last but certainly not least is the traditional climax of The Hukilau, Saturday evening’s dinner shows and live music at The Mai-Kai, the revered 57-year-old Polynesian supper club on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. The first dinner show featuring the restaurant’s Polynesian Islander Revue is already sold out. Call (954) 563-3272 to reserve your seats for the second show ($10.95 per person). Established in 1961, it’s the longest-running authentic South Seas stage show in the United States.

There will be two happy hours in The Molokai (4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.) with bands performing at 4:30 p.m. (The Hula Girls), 7 p.m. (The Ding Dong Devils) and around midnight (The Intoxicators). In addition, bands will be performing in the secluded Samoa dining room at 8:30 p.m. (Ìxtahuele) and 10 p.m. (The NovaRays). Also, locals please note: A wristband for The Hukilau (which comes with a multi-day pass) is now required for Saturday’s Main Event. Those without a wristband will be charged a $10 cover.

On Sunday, The Hukilau presents rare opportunity for guests to explore The Mai-Kai during afternoon hours (it’s been a dinner-only establishment since 1956). The Molokai bar opens at noon, and Skinny Jimmy & the Stingrays will wake up the crowd with a set of classic surf tunes to get everyone primed to enter the grand dining room for the premiere of the film Plastic Paradise: A Swingin’ Trip Through America’s Polynesian Obsession. In the works for several years, this documentary by Miami filmmakers Common Machine takes an inside look at the Polynesian Pop revival via footage and interviews at The Hukilau and other Tiki locations. There will be a $5 cover charge for non-passholders. After the film, The Mai-Kai will remain open for drinks and more live surf music as attendees begin to wind down from the wild weekend. Locals can get in free at 3 p.m. for the post-party.


If you didn’t get a room at the Yankee Clipper, don’t fret. Right next door, the Best Western Oceanside offers a special rate for The Hukilau. You must call to get the discount. Check the accommodations page on the official website for details. There are also plenty of other accommodations in the area in all price ranges. After all, Fort Lauderdale is America’s Vacationland.

There are also plenty of general event tickets to be had. You can buy them now on ticketing page. They include:

Hukilau 2013 at the Yankee Clipper

* An Aloha Pass ($95) that gets you into Thursday night’s Kickoff Party, Friday night’s Main Event plus any Saturday and Sunday happenings at the Yankee Clipper (excluding symposiums).

* A Friday-Saturday-Sunday Pass ($75) gives you the same access as the Aloha Pass, with the exception of Thursday’s events.

* Individual event tickets are available online for the Thursday night Kickoff Party ($27), and Friday night’s Main Event ($40).

Online sales end Tuesday, June 4. But you can still get tickets at The Hukilau registration desk in the Yankee Clipper lobby all day Thursday, June 6, (noon to 10 p.m.) and Friday (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.). This is where you can also pick up whatever symposium tickets are made available to those who missed the online sales. Details will be available at the registration desk.

Times and performances are always subject to last-minute changes, so be sure to check the official online schedule before you go.

If you’re short and cash and long on time and interest in participating, there may be spots still be available on The Hukilau’s team of volunteers. E-mail [email protected] to inquire about available positions. Volunteers receive free passes based on the amount of time they contribute.

And if for some reason you miss all of this, be sure to circle June 12-15, 2014, on your calendars now. That’s when The Hukilau returns for its 13th annual bash.

Hukilau links | Facebook page | Facebook group | YouTube | Event photos

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The Hukilau | The Mai-Kai | Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide

One Reply to “The Hukilau gears up for vintage Tiki weekend with exclusive merchandise, new sponsors and added entertainment”

  1. Thanks for the event overview and all of the schedule updates! Great to hear Deadhead will be selling their rum at the Tiki Treasures Bazaar. That is now item #1 on my purchase list.

    8 days and counting!

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