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The Hukilau announces entertainment lineup for ‘final aloha’ in Fort Lauderdale this June

UPDATES: The Hukilau says ‘Aloha’ but not goodbye, adds more entertainment (May)
The Hukilau announces return for 14th year in 2015 (April)
The Hukilau adds new band, symposium to lineup for June’s ‘final aloha’ (March)
Schedule announced for The Hukilau’s ‘Final Aloha,’ tickets selling fast (February)

The Hukilau: June 11-15, 2014

The Hukilau: June 11-15, 2014, at the Bahia Mar Beach Resort and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Get tickets and make hotel reservations now at Click the links below for more info.

When Tikphiles from around the world gather in Fort Lauderdale in June for the 13th and final edition of The Hukilau, they’ll be treated to an eclectic assortment of bands, speakers and entertainers that the event has been known for, from an “exotic” orchestra from Belgium to Tiki’s most famous cocktail author.

The official website launched early today with full details on the five-day festival that honors authentic mid-century Polynesian Pop culture like no other. The entertainment lineup includes seven bands, two special guest performers, four symposium speakers, and a cruise through Fort Lauderdale’s famous waterways.

Modern Caribbean Rum
The Left Arm of Buddha
The Left Arm of Buddha

The Left Arm of Buddha is an eight-piece group from Belgium that performs original arrangements of popular songs that represent the sounds of Polynesia, Africa, Asia and the Amazon. Its dynamic shows are more like an exotic revue, a feast for the senses featuring dancing girls and paying tribute to mid-century Tiki culture and burlesque. The Left Arm of Buddha’s first and only performance at The Hukilau is scheduled for Saturday, June 14, at 11:30 a.m. at the Bahia Mar.

Coming not quite as far, The Smokin’ Menehunes from Huntington Beach, Calif., perform classic Hapa Haole music from Hawaii’s golden age. Four Florida bands, all veterans of The Hukilau, make up the rest of the musical lineup announced today: The Intoxicators (surf, garage rock) from Tallahassee, Skinny Jimmy & The Stingrays (instrumental surf) from Deerfield Beach, Slip and the Spinouts (rockabilly, roots rock) from Yeehaw Junction, and Gold Dust Lounge (surf, spy-jazz) from Miami.

Special guests will include longtime master of ceremonies King Kukulele from California, and South Florida aquatic performer Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid (Medusirena) from the Wreck Bar at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel (aka the Yankee Clipper).

Jeff "Beachbum" Berry during a symposium at The Mai-Kai during The Hukilau in June 2013
Jeff “Beachbum” Berry during a symposium at The Mai-Kai during The Hukilau in June 2013. (Photo by

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, a Tiki and cocktail historian and author of six books, tops the list of speakers. A new symposium, “Tiki’s Dark Ages: From Fern Bars To Rebirth,” is scheduled for Thursday, June 12. Berry will talk about Tiki’s demise beginning in the 1970s and its rebirth at end of the 20th century. The author of the recently released Potions of the Caribbean will also present attendees with a souvenir cocktail glass designed in conjunction with The Hukilau and filled with a new drink from the menu of his upcoming Tiki bar, opening soon in New Orleans. Note that only 125 tickets will be sold, so reserve your seat now.

Other sympisiums announced today:

* Philip Greene, co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans and author of the critically-acclaimed To Have and Have Another – A Hemingway Cocktail Companion will present a talk with the same title of his book on Friday, June 13. He’ll discuss the rich life and times of Ernest Hemingway and the favorite cocktails of the Nobel and Pulitzer award-winning author.

* Vintage Roadside and Medusirena will present “Cocktails and Fishtails: The Untold Story of the Porthole Cocktail Lounge,” detailing the history behind this 1960s phenomenon. Underwater shows became the rage of mid-century lounges, and Vintage Roadside will share stories, photos and more from the creators and performers. Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid will talk about how she resurrected the long-lost show at the Wreck Bar.

* Noted tattoo artist and historian Paul Roe returns with another sysposium on Friday, June 13, “Mark of the Beast – Animal Spirits Tattooed.” He’ll explore the vast array of animal tattoos, from ancient to modern.

Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid performs in the pool at the Yankee Clipper during The Hukilau in June 2013
Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid performs in the pool at the Yankee Clipper during The Hukilau in June 2013. (Photo by

The complete schedule has not been announced, but a few days and times for specific performers and symposiums are listed on’s schedule page. More info is also expected to be announced soon on a special cruise on Fort Lauderdale’s iconic Jungle Queen, scheduled for Friday, June 13.

Most of the events will be at the Bahia Mar Beach Resort on the south end of State Road A1A near Port Everglades. The hotel’s 8,200-square-foot ballroom will host musical performances plus the Tiki Treasures Bazaar featuring 45 vendors from around the world. Click here to book a hotel room now.

There will be additional activities at The Mai-Kai, the acclaimed 57-year-old Polynesian supper club that has served as home base for The Hukilau since 2003. One of the highlights is the Saturday night main event and dinner shows on June 14. Also, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid will perform her regularly scheduled happy hour swim at the Yankee Clipper on Friday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m.

Event tickets start at $25 for an evening pass on Wednesday, plus individual Thursday, Friday and Sunday events at The Mai-Kai. A ticket to Friday’s events, including the nighttime Main Event, are $85. An Aloha Pass, which gives you access to events on Thursday through Sunday, costs $125. And for $150, a Big Kahuna Pass also gets you into Wednesday night’s pre-party at The Mai-Kai. All symposium tickets are a la carte and range from $15 for the Paul Roe or Philip Greene talks, to $42 for Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. You can order now via the tickets page.

The official 2013 group photo
The official 2013 group photo. (

In addition to vendors, The Hukilau is also seeking sponsors and staff members, plus volunteers to help organize and run the event. This is truly an event by and for the close-knit Tiki community, and passionate members are always welcome.

One very passionate member of that community, Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White, has sadly announced that 2014 will be The Hukilau’s last hurrah. The event began in 2002 at Trader Vic’s in Atlanta, moving the next year to Fort Lauderdale and The Mai-Kai. In an announcement in November, White cited a new career and changing personal focus as part of her her reason for ending the event she has helmed for 13 years.

On the website, she states: “We feel honored to have accomplished what we set out to do many years ago – to bring awareness to Tiki palaces on the East Coast and to help in their preservation so that many more generations are able to enjoy the spirit of Aloha.”

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

Venue sites
* Bahia Mar Beach Resort | Facebook page
* The Mai-Kai | Facebook page

Atomic Grog coverage
* The Hukilau’s Tiki Kiliki announces ‘The Final Aloha’ in 2014
* The Hukilau changes hotels, expands to five days
* 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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