Published on April 20th, 2014
Hukilau, Left Arm of Buddha

The Left Arm of Buddha


In Hawaii, aloha can mean both hello and goodbye. For the annual Polynesian Pop gathering that returns to Fort Lauderdale in June for its 13th annual celebration, both definitions are particularly apropos.

For the many devotees who will be traveling from around the world to attend the rum-fueled festivities on June 11-15, aloha has quickly gone from meaning a lamented last fling to a promising new beginning. After an announcement late last year that 2014 would be the “Final Aloha,” organizer Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White dropped the bombshell in April that The Hukilau will continue in 2015 with new partners and a new energy. She plans to announce more details on the event’s future in June.

But the focus now is on 2014. Expanded to five days of live bands, symposiums, artists, vendors, special events and performances, The Hukilau encompasses the historic Mai-Kai restaurant on Federal Highway and the Bahia Mar Beach Resort on the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Begun in 2002 in Atlanta, the event moved to South Florida in 2003 and has attracted thousands of mid-century and retro culture devotees looking for an authentic tiki experience.

Hukilau, The Intoxicators

The Intoxicators

Performers and VIPs also travel from far and wide, spanning a wide gamut of vintage styles. Highlights include: Florida bands Gold Dust Lounge (Miami), Skinny Jimmy & The Stingrays (Deerfield Beach), Slip and the Spinouts (Yeehaw Junction), The Intoxicators (Tallahassee), and The Disasternauts (Cape Canaveral), will be joined by The Left Arm of Buddha (Belgium), The Sweet Hollywaiians (Japan), and The Smokin’ Menehunes (California).

Special guests include South Florida’s Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid (performing in her native habitat at The Wreck Bar), burlesque queen Angie Pontani, emcee King Kukulele, musician Pablus, and artists Derek Yaniger, Bamboo Ben, and Danny Gallardo. Legendary pinup photographer Bunny Yeager was also scheduled to attend but sadly passed away on May 25, 2014.

Educational and entertaining symposiums will be resented by tropical drink historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, tattoo artist Paul Roe, author Philip Greene, and the mid-century enthusiasts from Vintage Roadside and Retro Renovation.

There will also be dozens of vendors selling collectibles in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar at the Bahia Mar, an Intracoastal Waterway booze cruise aboard the famous Jungle Queen, and special tropical rum cocktails served throughout the event. The Hukilau is also famous for its many after-hours parties.

Tickets to some events are sold out, but others are available online and at the door. For the full schedule and ticket info, go to ~ Jim Hayward | The Atomic Grog.
Full coverage of The Hukilau at