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Tag: Mai Kai

Ohana: Luau by the Sea returns to Ft. Lauderdale

Ohana means “family” in Hawaiian. The concept behind Ohana, Luau by the Sea is for Tiki Family to come together with a purpose and have serious fun once a year at a seaside gathering.

Ohana, Luau By The Sea, Mai Kai, Polynesian, Ft. Lauderdale

Ohana: Luau By The Sea is a big weekend gathering and celebration of tiki cocktails and Polynesian culture hosted by the Fraternal Order of the Moai (FOM) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on the first weekend of October.

The Fraternal Order of the Moai Foundation donates all profits to their designated charity: the Easter Island Foundation. The National Fellowship of local chapters is proud to support multiple scholarships administered by the EIF.

Luau By The Sea

Luau by the Sea is a global gathering in Ft. Lauderdale during the first weekend of October organized by the Fraternal Order of the Moai. For those coming in from out of town early, Ohana Luau by the Sea kicks off with a trip to the Planeboat once owned by Howard Hughes — a Ft. Lauderdale oddity — on Thursday, September 29 from 1 to 4 pm.

Floating in the Ft. Lauderdale Intercoastal Waterway, take a tour with Medusirena, the Fire Eating Mermaid and enjoy complimentary classic cocktails for this extra special event. A separate ticket is required which includes transportation to and from the host hotel.

Ohana Vice Party

Later on Thursday evening (September 29) everyone convenes for the “Ohana Vice Party” in the appropriately named Aqua and Terra Ballrooms at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Ft. Lauderdale 17th Street, the host hotel for the event. Here you will find incredible look-alike to James “Sonny” Crockett and Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs of Miami Vice. Show off your costume and blend in to this themed evening to get the Luau by the Sea party started. Pusser’s Navy Rum is awarding prizes for the best costumes.

Friday Seminars

On Friday, September 30, registration opens at 11am. Begin your day by attending four seminars throughout the afternoon.

  • Howard Huges’ Stratoliner Planeboat, a brief history

    Learn more about this local oddity and cultural icon from hosts David Drimmer and Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid.

  • Bitters and Tinctures

    Join Ayme Harrison of Kreepy Tiki as she takes you on an exploration of Bitters and Tinctures for your cocktails. This seminar is both a presentation and a hands-on class. There is an optional Bitters Kit for sale that includes everything you need to make your own bitters.

  • Tiki by the Numbers

    Explore the great variety of flavors of tiki cocktails deconstructed by the Gumbo Limbo Chapter of the FOM. We’ve all seen tiki bar menus that read as though every drink is “a blend of rums and tropical juices.” This interactive seminar will help you visualize and taste the different ranges of the tiki trinity (sour, sweet, and strong), with extra attention to the flavors that come from different styles of rum.

  • Tropical Fusion

    Polynesian Gods, Barrels of Rum, Rogues, Scoundrels and Geniuses. Join writer and seminar host Paul Senft for his discussion about the history of rum and its part in the evolution of the Tiki movement and the people behind it.

Friday Grand Luau Feast

At 6:45pm Friday evening the Grand Luau begins in the Grand Salon of the Embassy Suites where guests will enjoy a wonderful Floribbean/Hawaiian theme feast with lots of wonderful entertainment. Rocking the Luau by the Sea for the second year with their unique combination of surf, exotica and Hot Rod music.

Come see why 9th Wave is called the “Official Band of Ohana!” The Aloha Islanders will perform a high-energy and authentic Polynesian show that is an action packed non-stop revue of dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and New Zealand.

Roy and Malia Anderson of Ronin Taiko combine elements of Japanese instruments, Tiki-exotica music, and theatre to create a unique Pan Pacific experience. And Nani Maka and Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid will be dancing together on the Ohana Stage.

Saturday, The Rumporium

On Saturday, October 1, the Rumporium will open at 12 noon along with all the great Luau by the Sea Tiki Vendors. Enjoy sipping and learning about some great rums while you shop for your favorite Tiki souvenir. And don’t forget to bid on some wonderful items in the Silent Auction and support the Scholarships for the Easter Island Foundation.

Try your rum knowledge at the Great Rum Challenge sponsored by Rob’s Rum Guide and the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. If you can correctly identify all the rums in this blind tasting, you win a ticket to the festival April 22-23, 2017. Learn how to play the Ukulele with Tony Baloney at 1pm.

Tiki Mission to the Mai Kai

At 5pm the Mai Kai opens and everyone will make their way to Happy Hour at the Mai Kai Polynesian Restaurant’s Molokai Bar where special drinks will be available for the Ohana crowd. At 7:30pm Ohana Dinner seating begins. Everyone will enjoy their spectacular evening together watching the Mai Kai’s incredible Polynesian Show.

Sunday at Kreepy Tiki

On Sunday, October 2, everyone meets at the Kreepy Tiki Lounge, before departing, for the Hair of the Dog, Car and Bike Show, hosted by the Gumbo Limbo Chapter. The Kreepy Tiki is on the way to the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

Tickets and Reservations

Your $95 ticket includes the seminars, the Luau Dinner, the Aloha Islanders, the Taiko drumming by Roy and Malia, the Pretty Allrights on Ukulele, the totally awesome 9th Wave, the Rumporium, the Ohana Marketplace, and the Ohana Silent Auction which benefits the E.I.F. for the weekend.

  • First, get your tickets on the web site.
  • Second, call the Mai Kai and make your reservations for dinner on Saturday at 954-563-3272 and tell them you want to join Ohana for dinner on Saturday, October 1. Please reserve your space at the first dinner seating.
  • Third, call the Embassy Suites and book a room in the heart of the action. They are pet friendly, if you want to bring along fido. Call 954-527-2700 or visit the hotel web site.

For more information about Ohana: Luau By The Sea, visit the Ohana: Laua By The Sea web site.

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Mai-Kai Restaurant joins National Register of Historic Places

Certainly an iconic stand-out venue from the heyday of Polynesian themed restaurants and bars that thrived across America from the 1930s to the 1960s, The Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderdale was recently recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as a worthy addition to its esteemed list of historic locations.

Mai Kai Polynesian Dancers

The world-famous Mai Kai Polynesian restaurant and tiki bar in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida was recently inducted into the official National Register of Historic Places.

Some 58 years ago, this Polynesian bar and restaurant opened  — on December 28, 1956 — in what the National Register describes as an undeveloped area with no other buildings nearby. This dream come true cost about $400,000 — a small fortune at the time. But the restaurant, decorated with thousands of authentic artifacts collected from Polynesia, made a profit in its first year for forward thinking investors Bob and Jack Thornton.

Over the years, as other Polynesian theme restaurants and tiki bars came and went, the Mai Kai and its dedicated staff remained intact — steadily and enthusiastically provided an adventurous dining, drinking and showplace environment for tourists and locals.

In the 1960s, the famous Fire Dance tropical review was initiated with the utmost care and research to develop authentic dance routines for each of the featured Polynesian cultures integrated into the show.

With a resurgence in the popularity of tiki cocktails and culture, the Mai Kai is once again thriving while being recognized as one of the great authentic venues of its genre left in the world.

On November 18, 2014, Mai-Kai was officially entered into the National Register as a property associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history, stating:

“The Mai-Kai Restaurant is locally significant under Criteria A in the areas of Commerce and Entertainment/Recreation. It is significant as an intact, still operating, Polynesian-themed restaurant. The period of significance is from 1956 to 1964 when it largely achieved it present appearance. The Mai-Kai reflects national broad patterns of entertainment that began in the 1920s and thrived in the mid-20th century. The Mai-Kai is one of the few remaining Polynesian themed restaurants in Florida. The building, landscaped garden, interior decor, and the operational elements make the Mai-Kai an exemplary of an exotic themed restaurant and tourist destination. In addition to its decor, the Mai-Kai maintains a Polynesian-Asian influenced menu, as well as the mandatory cocktail menu. While the Mai-Kai’s food menu has adapted to changing culinary tastes, its drink menu, including the quality ingredients, has not changed since 1956. As a result, the restaurant is renowned for its expert tropical drinks. A review of the Mai-Kai’s drink menu indicates over a dozen registered trademark cocktails. The Mai-Kai has a permanent place in a holy trio of old-school holdouts dedicated to the careful construction of their libations.”

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