The three-day party runs from Thursday, October 1 through Saturday, October 3, and it's filled with fun, music, cocktails, and all things tiki culture. Luau by the Sea is the second Ohana event of its kind, with the original Ohana: Luau by the Lake held each summer in the retro-charming town of Lake George, New York.
Ohana: Luau by the Sea is organized by the Fraternal Order of Moai (FOM), an organization that serves as the premier fraternal organization and social network for all men and women interested in tiki culture. according to Robert Burr, founder of the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, these men and women are a hard working, hard partying, and extremely charitable group. "My wife Robin (Rum Mum) and son Robert (Rum Scout) are members of FOM's Gumbo Limbo chapter here in South Florida and I'm a big supporter.
"The FOM members are also the volunteers behind the scenes for the RumXP competition and the Miami Rum Fest, so we have a long history together. I can honestly tell you these are the most genuine fun-loving people I know. You would never miss a party at one of their homes. They will do anything to help one another, like family. As a volunteer organization, it's all about fellowship, camaraderie, working together, having fun. They raise a lot of money for the favorite charities like the Gumbo Limbo Center to Save the Turtles, ReefGuard, etc. They are a family in every sense of the word: Ohana."
FOM members were also the original volunteers for Hukilau, Fort Lauderdale's most well-known tiki event. Burr says that the Ohana events different in that members have a say in the planning of the parties and dinners.
Ohana: Luau by the Sea kicks off on Thursday, October 1, at 7 p.n. with a party at the Kreepy Tiki Lounge. The theme is a circus sideshow, complete with bands and drinks that will give new meaning to "the greatest show on earth."
On Friday, October 2, you're invited to have cocktails and enjoy live carving demos by De Tiki Custom Carvings at the host hotel, Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port Hotel. There's also a ukelele 101 class, and a seminar conducted by Mike Skinner explaining why a good tiki bar has so many nautical elements.
On Friday evening, from 7 to 9 p.m. the Mai Kai hosts a special dinner and a show, followed by a stroll through the gardens to hang with the tiki gods, then enjoy cocktails in the Molokai Lounge.
On Saturday, October 3, shop for treasures or complete your bar at the Ohana marketplace, and enjoy games, music, and cocktails at the hotel. On Saturday evening at 7 p.m., the weekend culminates with the special Ohana Luau at the Sheraton with dinner, dancing, and more tiki drinks.
Tickets for Ohana: Luau by the Sea are only $85 per person, a bargain when you consider that's an all-in-one pass to Thursday's kick-off party, Friday's pool fun, the Mai-Kai happy hour and after dinner entertainment (Mai Kai dinner is additional), Ohana marketplace on Saturday, and the blowout luau on Saturday evening.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.