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The Hukilau Launches Tonight in Fort Lauderdale

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, click here.

-- Penn Bullock

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