Anticipation for the second Ohana Luau at the Lake was so high we couldn't wait a full year to sound the call again to gather tikiphiles from all around North America and Europe at the Tiki Resort in Lake George, New York. So the word went out by email, on Facebook, and at parties during the cold winter months... see you at the lake June 25-27, 2010!
And answer the call they did: Ohana 2010 was completely sold out and so was every single room in the Tiki Resort. We were also excited to have representatives from the Easter Island Foundation on hand to observe Fun With a Purpose in person.
After the first Ohana we heard three things from attendees: they wanted warmer weather, better food, and to see more of the Tiki Resort itself. Event planner Michael "Bargoyle" Sullivan took this to heart so the 2010 event kicked off Thursday night with the surreal 80s "In The Air Tonight" prom at the Whispers night club, a hidden gem inside the Tiki complete with working light walls and a gigantic mirror ball. Attendees arrived in a fantastic array of costumes, retro clothes and ready to get down to classic songs from the late-70s and early 80s spun by DJ HiFi Hijinks. By Friday morning it all seemed like a dream as everyone awoke to explore Lake George while the stage and registration tents were being set up.
Once registration opened attendees were greeted with an array of free gifts from our generous sponsors including a custom room crawl glass from Folly Cove Rum, a choice of a t-shirt or bartender shirt from Trader Vic's, coupons from Kahiki Foods, coasters from KegWorks, food samples from Dole Foods, swizzles and match books from Frankie's Tiki Room in Las Vegas and another fantastic Ohana drink swizzle designed by Royer Corp. If that wasn't enough souvenirs for the weekend Ohana t-shirts, event mugs by Squid and other merchandise were on sale also.
As the crowd continued to grow Francis Llacuna started off the entertainment while everyone enjoyed a fresh cocktail and some free Kahiki Foods appetizers from the Paradise Lounge at the Tiki. The news that drink prices had been reduced thanks to generous support from one of our new sponsors, Bols, was extremely well received. Then it was time to put those fancy room crawl glasses and swizzle sticks to work and start the room crawl. The first round included a visit to a capsized ocean liner, a strange witch doctor and a visit with WAITIKI.
Then the action returned to the pool deck where Bamboo Saxotica was bringing big horn sounds to everyone's Exotica favorites as the sun began to set. Round two of the room crawl offered attendees a chance to visit Baltimore, a 70s key party, the undersea lair of a super intelligent fish or a bizarre visit to the headquarters of the alien resistance movement which appeared to be well stocked with St. Lucia rums courtesy of Team Spirits Imports.
The entertainment for the evening ended with the debut performance of the Kahiki Serenaders, a new project from WAITIKI International. Then the final round of the room crawl began with visits to a tropical island being evacuated during a volcanic eruption, the Pineapple Lounge and the strange glowing world of Electric Luauland. As the party wound down 9th Wave put on an acoustic performance from the balcony of the original motel section of the resort.
Saturday brought some ominous clouds and a buzz of excitement as the vendor area opened with the sounds of Virani and Fisherman in the background. The crowd ignored scattered showers while shopping, bidding at the charity silent auction, trying free samples of Folly Cove Rum, watching the mixology action at the second annual Dole Cocktail Contest, and watching some of the more infamous members of the Fraternal Order of Moai take turns sitting in a dunk tank to raise money for the Easter Island Foundation.
As scattered showers became just showers the silent auction and entertainment was forced to move inside. Many guests put down their cocktail to pitch in and help move equipment and auction items inside. The Paradise Lounge became a hub of activity as guests bid on auction items in the lobby of the Waikiki Supper Club, cheered on The Granite Tiki and Francis Llacuna in the Paradise Lounge or enjoyed performances by 9th Wave and WAITIKI in the oddly appropriate Whispers Night Club.
As the weather began to clear cheers erupted when it was announced that dinner would be served inside but the Polynesian show would be outside under the stars! Guests eagerly devoured the 450 lbs. roasted pig that was the centerpiece of the dinner while the show was set up by the pool. However, after a few warm up numbers by the house band, Pearl of Paradise, the skies began to open up again and plans had to be changed.
First everyone gathered again in Whispers for the highly anticipated Mystery Bowl Auction. This year featured six bowls donated by Trader Vic's including two rare conch bowls which are hard to find. Each winning bidder was promised a Trader Vic's drink bowl with a mystery drink created by Suzanne from Forbidden Island, a garnish designed by Kelly at the VelveteenLounge and a tiki pendant by Fred "Fink Daddy" Kroner at Leeward Lounge Creations. Plus each bowl would be delivered by a mystery boy or girl by request. Bidding started slowly but picked up speed when the first conch bowl went on the block and soon the record bid for a bowl at the Mystery Bowl Auction was matched. But this record was soon erased as the second conch bowl fetched nearly double that amount. The presentation of the bowls to the winners kept with the event's tradition of "fun with a purpose" and a record amount was raised for the Easter Island Foundation.
Meanwhile the tireless staff of the Tiki Resort had rearranged the Waikiki Supper Club into theater style seating for the Polynesian show. Everyone headed downstairs to the club as hosts Jimmy Faatauvaa and Ulale Pusi warmly welcomed back the ohana and kicked off the show which featured family members who had flown in from Atlanta and Las Vegas to perform as a group during Ohana Luau at the Lake.
After dancing, hula lessons and fire dancing the show ended on an emotional note as Jimmy Faatauvaa called Michael Sullivan on stage to thank the Fraternal Order of Moai for donating to the relief efforts in Samoa when a tsunami struck the island shortly after Ohana 2009. A set of ceremonial leis brought from Samoa were humbly accepted on behalf of the Order.
Mother nature insisted on the last word so attendees emerged from the show to find the sky clear and dry... of course. But this allowed the nightly drive-in movies to go ahead as planned.
The next morning's hangover brunch and Treasures of the Tiki tour of the property was punctuated by long goodbyes and a promise... "see you next year" as people left to explore Lake George or head for home.
See you at the Lake!
—Tagata Maori Rogorogo