South Florida's 14th-annual celebration of tiki culture, the Hukilau returns next week, but not without a few last minute additions. The final release of the full 2015 schedule of events including the late announcement of several never-before-seen parties and meetups added to this year's lineup. The latest news: event-goers can see Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, taste several new rum sponsors, and purchase exclusive event merchandise including mugs, pendants, and glassware.
That adds to the already new and approved list of events new to the Hukilau this year, which will host many of its events at Fort Lauderdale's iconic Pier 66.
According to Hukilau event co-founder and organizer Christie "Tiki Kiliki" White, the new series of events have been set up to help propel the pop-Polynesian tiki event into the future.
"We relocated many of this year's events to Fort Lauderdale's Pier 66, what we consider to be one of the city's most important and historic properties," said White. "And since we're an event that celebrates the history of tiki, we thought it was important to make sure we continue to celebrate that in a place that had some history of its own, like the Mai-Kai."
Originally built in 1956, the hotel's rotating rooftop lounge provides the perfect spot for such growth, added White, who previously announced last year's event would be the final Hukilau in South Florida.
This year, new events include a competition showdown between some of the world's best tiki barmen at Pier 66's Pier Top Lounge; a three-hour cruise around Fort Lauderdale hosted by Gilligan's Island actress Dawn Wells; an improved live entertainment lineup featuring more exotica, jazz, surf, and rockabilly bands; and six symposiums that highlight Disney artists and an Oscar-nominated filmmaker.
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"We thought these options would be great additions to our standing event line-up," said White. "Especially the three hour tour — without the part of getting stranded on an island, of course."
The 2015 Hukilau will take place June 10 to 14 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel and The Mai-Kai restaurant, both in Fort Lauderdale.
This year, special guests include musical performers 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, DJ James Brown's Sweat. Symposium presenters include Arthur Dong, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily, Domenic Priore, Jeff Chenault, Jon Bortles and Tiki Gardener. Guest bartenders: Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, Brian Miller, Martin Cate, Paul McGee, Dean Hurst, the Straw Hat Barmen.
Tickets are still available for many events. For a full schedule of events, or to purchase tickets online, visit thehukilau.com.