The Hukilau changes hotels, plans major announcement

The Hukilau: June 11-15, 2014, at the Bahia Mar Beach Resort and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Latest updates: | Facebook or Twitter
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The Hukilau

The East Coast’s largest annual festival dedicated to Polynesian Pop culture is returning in 2014 to the hotel that hosted some of the largest gatherings in the 13-year history of the event. In addition, a big announcement is planned for tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 18) by co-founder and organizer Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White that you won’t want to miss.

It will be announced tomorrow that The Hukilau is expanding to five days (June 11-15) with additional Wednesday events in addition to the usual Thursday through Sunday happenings such as the Tiki marketplace, retro-themed bands, rum-fueled parties, informative symposiums and much more. And, as usual, there will be events centered around the historic Mai-Kai Polynesian restaurant, the Fort Lauderdale treasure (est. 1956) that dates back to the original mid-century Tiki craze.

Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid performs with the Sweet Hollywaiians in the ballroom at the Bahia Mar at The Hukilau 2010
Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid performs with the Sweet Hollywaiians in the ballroom at the Bahia Mar at The Hukilau 2010. (Photo by

Tickets for the event are scheduled to go on sale tomorrow at, with different price points depending on your length of stay. But there will also be a major piece of information that anyone with an interest in the event will want to know. The news will come via an alert to the event’s e-mail list, plus an announcement on Facebook and Twitter.

Tiki Kiliki announced last week that The Hukilau will return after a two-year hiatus to the Bahia Mar Beach Resort, site of the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2011 events. Information on room rates and reservations will also be announced tomorrow.

The hotel, on the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach just west of State Road A1A and adjacent to the beach and Intracoastal Waterway, was fully renovated in December 2012. The hotel features an 8,200-square foot indoor ballroom that will provide much more space for Tiki Treasures Bazaar vendors as well as a large stage for bands and performances. The hotel also boasts spacious meeting rooms for The Hukilau’s symposiums and other events.

The nearby Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel (aka the Yankee Clipper), site of The Hukilau in June 2013, does not have anywhere near the same generous space, and last year’s heavy rains created logistical issues with some outdoor events forced into cramped indoor areas. That will not be an issue in 2014, Tiki Kiliki says. She added that the Yankee Clipper’s iconic Wreck Bar and performances by Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid will still be included in the event.

Shag participates in a fashion show at The Hukilau 2010 at the Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale
Shag participates in a fashion show at The Hukilau 2010 at the Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo by

The Bahia Mar was site of some of the most memorable parties in the history of The Hukilau, which started in Atlanta at Trader Vic’s in 2002 and moved to Fort Lauderdale and The Mai-Kai in 2003. In 2004, performers and guests at the third annual event included I Bella Di Waikiki, King Kukulele, Sven Kirsten, and Billy Mure. In 2005, history was made at the Bahia Mar when exotica music legend Robert Drasnin conducted a 16-piece orchestra’s performance of his groundbreaking LP Voodoo in its entirety for the first time since 1959. Also on hand was legendary vocalist Yma Sumac, Waitiki, The Intoxicators and the Haole Kats.

The 2006 event at the Bahia Mar saw the first of many cocktail symposiums by author and Tiki historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, plus a slideshow by Sven Kirsten (author of Tiki Modern). These and two other seminars set the standard for entertaining and educational presentations at all future events.

After a three-year absence, The Hukilau returned to “the Mar” in 2010 with special guest Shag participating in an art show, meet-and-greet and fashion show. The Sweet Hollywaiians came all the way from Japan to perform, while The Neanderthals also rocked the house. The Hukilau celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011 at the Bahia Mar with performances by Tikiyaki Orchestra, The Exotics, The Disasternauts and many more. Artists Kevin Kidney (designer of the longtime Hukilau logo) and Jody Daily were on hand all weekend, and Beachbum Berry brought along his “Rum Rat Pack” of alcohol authorities.

While we await tomorrow’s announcement, here are some YouTube clips featuring highlights of The Hukilau at the Bahia Mar:

Hukilau links | Facebook page | Facebook group | Twitter | YouTube | Photos | Flickr

Atomic Grog coverage
* The Hukilau presents the perfect way to serve up Tiki history in a glass
* PBS stations say aloha to long-awaited documentary on Tiki culture
* All posts on The Hukilau | The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide | All Mai-Kai posts

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