Mai Tai Festival to Draw Global Competition

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A battle for the world’s best mai tai will ensue on Saturday, Aug. 15 as 20 bartenders from across the world battle it out for $10,000 at the 7th Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival.

Admission to the festival, held at the Royal Kona Resort on Ali’i Drive, is free as residents and visitors gather for a day-long event, beginning at 11 a.m. with live entertainment, a pool party, arts and crafts displays, a BBQ cook-off contest, and food booths.

Lounge, fill up on competition BBQ, and sip on tropical drinks as you wait for the competition to heat up as the day cools down.

The Mai Tai Mix-off will close the event. Last year, Michael Soo, a mixologist from Bar Crudo in Pheonix, Ariz., won the competition with his twist on the famous Mai Tai, “A Hui Hou.”

Haliimaile General Store’s Wendy Romlein took second place at the sixth annual competition. The Maui mixer won first place at the 2013 event.


Matt Corbin of Cane & Canoe restaurant at the Montage Resort on Maui took third place in 2014.

Script will be availble for purchase at the event for food and some beverage purchases. Certain drinks will be sold via cash and credit card.

Event Schedule:

Battle of the BBQ at the Luau Grounds, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Competition will heat up as the world’s best BBQ will be at the center of a cooking competition between local restaurants and chefs. Tasting plates will be available for purchase as the public takes on the task of naming a winner. Voting will be open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The winner of the highly anticipated grub down will be announced at 1:45 p.m.

Mai Tai MarketPlace at the Luau Grounds, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Local vendors and artisans will set up shop for the public to browse at the MarketPlace. From handcrafted items to delicious produce and food, a variety of selections from across Hawai’i will be present.

Henry Kapono Poolside Party, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.


Henry Kapono and his band will jump on stage poolside for live music. The Grammy-nominated, award-winning musician will bring his island rhythms to create a party perfect for kicking back or dancing around.

Mai Tai Mix-off, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Chefs from across the world will compete for the title of World’s Best Mai Ta, and a $10,000 prize. Second and third place will win $5,000 and $2,500, respecively.

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