The Tiki Mecca

Of all the world’s sundry Tiki events, Fort Lauderdale’s Hukilau is one of the holiest. Tiki fanatics flock to it like pilgrims; it’s their biggest gathering on the East Coast.

This year’s Hukilau will last for three days jam-packed with events. The gathering starts with a Tiki art show at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Bahia Mar Hotel. At 8 p.m., the party moves to the poolside of the Bahia Cabana Hotel (3001 Harbor Drive, Fort Lauderdale) with performances by countless bands, a DJ, Elena the Hula Hoop Extraordinaire, and Marina the Fire-Eating Mermaid. The next day features a Tiki bazaar with souvenirs and vendors from around the world, a history seminar, and a night filled with performances by more bands. And June 12, there’s a “Tikimentary” on the Polynesian Pop movement (didn’t it start with the annexation of Hawaii?) and then a whirlwind of mingling, drinking, and traditional shows at Tiki’s kitschy cathedral, the Mai-Kai (3599 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale) — legendary as one of the most successful restaurants of the ’50s and, for a while, the largest seller of rum in the United States.

“Hukilau” is centered at the Bahia Mar Hotel (801 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) and other locations Thursday through Sunday. A three-day pass costs $85. Less-expensive passes are available and cost $15 and up. For a full schedule and ticket information, visit thehukilau.com.
Thu., June 10, 2010

 
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