The Hukilau is coming back to South Florida, and it's better than ever.
This year, prepare yourself for a weekend of midcentury Americana when tiki culture returns to Fort Lauderdale with a series of symposiums and two new events.
In Hawaii, "hukilau" is a term used to refer to the ancient method of fishing where villagers would cast a large net into the sea to herd fish into shore. The feast that followed was meant to emphasize the spirit of family and community.
Fort Lauderdale's annual Hukilau acts as South Florida's metaphorical net, thrown out to the entire world, bringing fans of "Polynesian Pop" and tiki culture together for a special four-day celebration.
The 2015 Hukilau will take place June 10 through 14 at the Fort Lauderdale's Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel and — as always — the iconic Mai-Kai restaurant and bar.
Over the course of the four-day event, the Hukilau will feature several symposiums meant to educate, inform, and celebrate the tiki and Polynesian pop lifestyle. This year, symposium presenters will include Arthur Dong, who will discuss the history of Chinese American nightclubs; Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily, who will explore Disney's original Polynesian Village Resort; and Tiki Gardener, who will tour the country's tiki gardens. The complete lineup of events can be found at thehukilau.com/symposiums.
As always, there will also be a number of live performers, including musicians in various genres like exotica, jazz, surf, and rockabilly bands, like this year's Alika Lyman Group, the Intoxicators, Gold Dust Lounge, Pablus, Slip and the Spinouts, Kinky Waikiki, Skinny Jimmy Stingray, King Kukulele, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, Lila Starlet, and DJ James Brown's Sweat.
This year will also feature some new events and one special celebrity appearance:
Three Hour Tour Cruise With Dawn Wells of Gilligan's Island
New this year, the Hukilau will offer guests a trip of a lifetime with special guest Dawn Wells, who played castaway Mary Ann on the iconic 1960s sitcom Gilligan's Island. Wells will host an aptly named three-hour cruise that will set sail along with 300 guests aboard the Lady Windridge Yacht from the Pier 66 Marina for a three-hour tour along the Fort Lauderdale canals.
The Three Hour Cruise takes place Friday, June 12, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. (the boat boards at noon). Tickets are on sale now for $99 per person (if you've already purchased a wristband for the Hukilau) or $149 without a wristband. Book your fare at thehukilau.com/book-cruise.
Tiki Tower Takeover
The Hukilau will also present a new tiki cocktail event featuring some of the industry's best barmen. They'll take over Pier 66's Pier Top Lounge for a cocktail
party at the restaurant's revolving lounge located 17 floors above Fort Lauderdale Beach. The venue, which turns 360 degrees every 66 minutes, offers spectacular views of the Fort Lauderdale skyline and Atlantic Ocean.
Join Jeff "Beachbum" Berry (of Latitude 29, New Orleans), Martin Cate (of Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco), Paul McGee (of Lost Lake, Chicago) and Brian Miller (of "Tiki Mondays" with Miller, New York City) as they each shake up a signature drink during a special two-hour happy hour. For more on the guest bartenders, visit thehukilau.com/guest-bartenders and thehukilau.com/world-class-bartenders.
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The Tiki Tower Takeover takes place Thursday, June 11, from 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets cost $69 per person and can be purchased at thehukilau.com/tiki-tower-takeover.
Mug Shot Challenge
The Mug Shot Challenge takes place ahead of this year's Hukilau, running from March 3 to 24. The winner will be sent a commemorative mug designed by Tiki Diablo for the Hukilau 2015 event. All you need to do is find your favorite tiki mug and take a picture. For inspiration, visit @tikimuglife on Instagram.
To participate, first follow @thehukilau on Instagram. Then, take a photo of your mugs from past Hukilau events. You can enter as many times as you like; just remember to post it to Instagram and tag @thehukilau. Tickets for the 2015 Hukilau are on sale now at thehukilau.com/buy-tickets.