The Fourth Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival kicks off next Saturday, August 18 at 11 a.m. at the Royal Kona Resort on Hawaii’s Big Island. The day’s events offer something for everyone and include Battle of the BBQ, farmer’s and crafter’s marketplace, pool party with Henry Kapono providing live entertainment, and the signature Mai Tai Mix-Off.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Royal Kona Resort’s luau grounds, visitors will enjoy the Battle of the BBQ with local chefs preparing their tangy specialties and the Mai Tai Marketplace featuring Island foods, clothing, arts and crafts. Samples of the chefs’ BBQ creations will be available for purchase and tasters can vote to determine the People’s Choice Award. Admission is free.
The celebration continues at the resort’s free pool party from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Award winning Henry Kapono and his renowned band will perform live, entertaining with their popular Island rhythms. In the past, some surprise, internationally known musicians have dropped in to “jam” with Kapono’s group, adding to the fun.
The main event of the day begins at 4:30 p.m. Thirty bartenders from around the globe will test their favorite Mai Tai recipes in hopes of winning the $10,000 first prize and title of “World’s Best Mai Tai.” The competition is fierce and atmosphere is festive with emcee and mixologist Joey Gottesman entertaining onlookers cheering for their favorites.
Other judges are Chris Teves, publisher of Hawaii Beverage Guide; Mark Nigbur, master distiller of Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum; Philip “Ippy” Aiona, executive chef and Food Network star contestant; and Mark Healey, professional Big Wave surfer, freediver, and stuntman.
Event sponsors are Hawaiian Hotels & Resorts, Don the Beachcomber’s Restaurant at the Royal Kona Resort, Young’s Market Company, Expedia Activities, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Coruba Rum, and Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum.
Food booths and beverage service will be available using event script that can be purchased at stations throughout the Royal Kona Resort grounds. This year, the Festival is also a venue for raising funds for the current Food Basket campaign on Hawaii’s Big Island and donations can be made at event depositories during the day. Event title sponsor, rocker Sammy Hagar (Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum), is contributing $5,000 to the Food Basket via the Hagar Family Foundation to kick things off.
More information is online at www.donsmaitaifest.com.