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Five Hukilau Tiki Essentials

Seems like Hawaiian style is bigger than ever these days. Is the tiki life reaching a mass level appeal again? We can't say for sure, but we know everyone needs a Tahitian mind-cation once in awhile.

Wednesday was the kickoff of the Hukilau's 11th year in Fort Lauderdale at the historic Mai Kai, one day more than usual. And as we told you yesterday, this tropical excursion to yesteryear offers many more activities than in the past as well.

For those that have never been to a Hukilau, it's much more than just you watching gals hulaing in grass skirts and sipping stiff libations out of coconuts. It's also about the music and culture of this lost time; it's a vibe, a party, a chance to play dress-up and rub tatted elbows with like-minded folks.

For Hukilau rookies, let us be your Rick Steves on this Polynesian journey. Here are five Hukilau essentials that will help you make the best of this luau. Aloha.

See also: Hukilau Is Thriving and Taking It "to the Next Level" at Mai Kai Again

1. You are going to get lei'd at some point or another.

These Hawaiian flower wreathes are presented upon arriving or leaving as a symbol of affection. They are fixtures at any respectable island-themed shindig.

2. That mug with a Polynesian god on it has more rum in it than you think it does.

Beware! Those fruity Hawaiian libations are deceivingly intoxicating. Sip slowly and with caution.

3. You'll actually look cool (for once) in that loud, hibiscus-covered, parrot-patterned Hawaiian shirt.

Everyone at the Hukilau gets into the aloha spirit, so no need to feel embarrassed that you spent all that money on a Tommy Bahama shirt you only wore once. Now may be the only time you can wear it with pride outside of a fishing trip with coworkers.

4. Gawking at ladies in short skirts made of palm fronds is acceptable.

They are part of the show, after all. Where else are you supposed to look?

5. Slide guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, and falsettos at every turn.

Nothing but the sounds of the Pacific and some Rockabilly swing will accompany this fruity weekend.

Hele mei hoohiwahiwa, friends! (That's Hawaiian for come celebrate with us. You're welcome!)

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Alex Rendon