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Tomorrow – Battle of the BBQ’s and Mai Tai Festival at the Royal Kona Resort

Tomorrow, August 19th 2017, the Royal Kona Resort celebrates the legendary Mai Tai cocktail at the ninth annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival.

Watch as over 20 of the world’s top bartenders converge on the Big Island of Hawaii to mix it up in a battle for the title of World’s Best Mai Tai and a $10,000 cash prize.

Festival Highlights include:

  • Mai Tai Marketplace: Shop for crafts and island treats from local artisans and merchants from 11am-4pm
  • Battle of the BBQ: Taste and vote for Hawaii’s best barbecue from 11am-2pm
  • Pool Party: Listen to live music from local Hawaiian artists by the pool from 2:30pm-4pm

Mai Tai Mix-off: From 4:30pm – 7:30pm watch bartenders from around the world vie for the title of World’s Best Mai Tai and cash prizes. First place winner receives $10,000, second place winner receives $5,000, and third place winner receives $2,500.

For the past eight years, the Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival has drawn bartenders from around the globe to compete for the title of World’s Best Mai Tai and cash prizes. This annual festival is a full-day, fun-filled event with live entertainment, a pool party, arts and crafts displays, a BBQ Cook-Off Contest, food booths, and lots more. The main event is the exciting action-packed Mai Tai Mix-Off contest. Watch and cheer for the competing bartenders as they create their own potent and signature spin on the historic Mai Tai, an island favorite.

Past participants

The 2016 Festival crowned Art Deakins of Bar Leather Apron in Honolulu, HI the winner of the $10,000 first prize and title of “World’s Best Mai Tai”. Second place was Tim Rita of the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV. The third best mai tai recipe was created by Kevin Beary of Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago, IL.Also part of the Festival’s activities was the battle of the barbeques. The Judge’s Award for “Best BBQ” was taken by Cool Runnings Catering of Kailua-Kona, HI. The People’s Choice award winner was Umeke Restaurant also in Kailua-Kona, HI.

Sam Choy Introduces New Kitchen Line at the Royal Kona Resort

Saturday evening at the Royal Kona Resort, Celebrity Chef Sam Choy partnered up with Tiki Shark Hawaii by hosting a party and introducing the world to Choy’s new line-up of kitchen items.

World Champion surfer Anthony Walsh and his girlfriend, Aidan James, Sam Choy, World Champion Surfer Jamie O'Brien and his girlfirend with Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker in front.

World Champion surfer Anthony Walsh and his girlfriend, Aidan James, Sam Choy, World Champion Surfer Jamie O’Brien and his girlfirend with Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker in front.

A large crowd filled Don the Beachcomber Bar downstairs of the Royal Kona Resort for a concert that culminated with 13-year-old YouTube sensation Aidan James and John Cruz on the stage together.

Aidan James and John Cruz bring down the house!

Aidan James and John Cruz bring down the house!

Sam Choy mentioned about the hard work that was done putting together this new line of kitchen products and spoke with Professional Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien about doing a YouTube show from their respective houses.

Sam Choy "In the Kitchen with Anthony Walsh and Jamie O'Brien???

Sam Choy “In the Kitchen with Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien”???

You can click here to view Sam Choy’s In the Kitchen clips.

While Sam Choy signed many autographed copies of his book’s, partial proceeds from the evenings event went to Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation.

Sam Choy and his grand daughters.

Sam Choy and his grand daughters.

Hilo folks will have the opportunity to check out Aidan James at the Hilo Palace Theater next Saturday Evening November, 14th at 7:00.

Body Glove Sponsored Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O'Brien flank Teen Rocker Aidan James.

Body Glove Sponsored Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien flank Teen Rocker Aidan James.

The product line will be available at his restaurants as well they will begin showing up in various gift shops around the island.  They can currently be found at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery at 75-5770 Ali’i Drive in Kona.

Sam Choy and Aidan James signing autographs.

Sam Choy and Aidan James signing autographs.

Body Glove Turns 60

Body Glove International, has been in business for 60 years now and celebrated its anniversary in Kona last night with a party open to the public at the Royal Kona Resort.

me and body glove creature

In 1953, twin brothers Bill and Bob Meistrell co-founded Body Glove when they designed the first practical wetsuit.  Sixty-years later, Body Glove is one of the very few family owned water sports brands in the world.

According to company president, Russ Lesser, “The company has thrived and been successful and I’m proud to have been part of that along with the rest of our team which is a great team, the fact that we have been here for 60 years speaks for itself, its great… it means we have done a few things right.”

Peter Townend (surfing’s first world champion) stated the following about Body Glove, “It’s incredible to think that the brand Body Glove is going to celebrate its 60th anniversary… and that its still all a family, I just think that it’s kind of special as there are few brands in the world that still have the family running it.”

Representatives of the company sent me a DVD with the following movie on it:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/awIVAkb0NLg]

Body Glove’s 60th Anniversary and Tiki Mug Release Party One Week Away

One week away until Body Glove’s 60th Anniversary party at the Royal Kona Resort.

Body Glove Party

Body Glove Invites the Public to Their 60th Anniversary on the Big Island with Huge Party

Body Glove International, the original surf and dive industry pioneer and creator of the first commercially viable wetsuit will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.  The family-owned and operated business is excited to share its heritage and history via a kick-off party at The Royal Kona Resort on October 24, 2013 at 4 PM at Don the Beachcomber – Bar area.

Click to read about the history of Body Glove

Click to read about the history of Body Glove

The event will be open to the public with a free live concert by Grammy nominated Henry Kapono and Body Glove giveaways courtesy of its Hawaiian partners – Body Glove Cruises and Tiki Shark Art Hawaii Inc.The two day celebration will continue with a Body Glove / Tiki Mug Release party at The WYLAND Kona Oceanfront Gallery on Alii Drive October 25, 2013 at 6 PM to 9:30PM – open to the public as well.

State and City officials along with Surf legends and Body Glove Team Riders will be in attendance.

“We are excited to be sharing our history with the folks in Hawaii” stated Billy Meistrell – Owner and Senior Vice President “it is going to be the party of the year and all are welcome to attend and help us cut and eat the celebratory cake” he added.

Abbas Hassan SVP for Tiki Shark / Body Glove GCC had this to say, “we are honored to have the second and third generation of the original founding family members of Body Glove come to our island to celebrate this special event.

About Body Glove
Founded in 1953, Body Glove is a leading, worldwide water sports brand specializing in wetsuits, swimwear, clothing, footwear, accessories, and technology accessories. The company sponsors one of the most respected surf and wakeboard teams in the industry with such powerhouse names as pro surfers Jamie O’Brien, Cheyne Magnusson, Anthony Walsh, Alex Gray and Holly Beck and wake boarders Rusty Malinoski, Harley Clifford, Bob Soven and Jeff McKee. Body Glove and Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society have formed a legendary alliance to help preserve and protect the ocean while providing ocean and diving geared equipment to water enthusiasts around the globe. Some of the proceeds from the sale if those products go directly to Ocean Futures Society. Through Reef Check, SIMA’s environmental fund, and the Surfrider Foundation, Body Glove also works to preserve the purity of the waters it loves. Body Glove products are sold in the U.S. by a network of independent retailers. Body Glove is also sold in approximately 50 countries internationally.

The Spin Doctors Rock the Royal Kona Resort

Yesterday the Royal Kona Resort had quite a day.  It started off with a BBQ Cook-off that was won by Banjy’s Paradise Bar & Grill. Then they had a pool party and concert that featured Henry Kapono and Mick Fleetwood.

It was then time to have a $10,000 Mai Tai Mix-Off that was won by a Trump Waikiki bartender.   The night concluded with a rocking concert by the Spin Doctors!

The band played for about an hour and a half of some of their newer stuff as well as their more famous stuff.

I would say there was probably about 400 – 500 folks in attendance and they all seemed to really enjoy the concert.

I wish I had my better camera… you can click on the pictures below for larger views:

 

The $10,000.00 Don the Beachcombers Mai Tai Mix-Off Begins

The 3rd Annual Don the Beachcombers Mai Tai Festival and $10,000.00 Mai-Tai Mix-Off Has Begun.

The first three contestants take to the stage

For the next three hours, 30 bartenders from throughout the world will compete for the $10,000.00 top prize for the best Mai Tai.

This years tiki trophy

I need to figure out how to get on the “judging panel”!

I hear the Spin Doctors doing a sound check… I’ll go check that out for a little while.

Banjy’s Takes the Battle of the BBQ at the Royal Kona Resort

Well the Battle of the BBQ just ended at the Royal Kona Resort and Banjy’s Paradise Bar & Grill walked away with both the “Peoples Choice Award” and the “Judges Choice Award”.

The cooks and restaurant employees celebrate the moment of victory.

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy and rocker Mick Fleetwood were on hand to give them their “Tiki Trophies”.

Henry Kapono is now on stage

And there is also a pool party going on now.

The $10,000 Mai Tai Mix off is a about to begin and I will post results after the event.

I arrived as it was ending so I didn’t get to many pictures of the food unfortunately!

 

Some of the Restaurants Announced for the BBQ Cook-Off

Some of the restaurants that will be participating in the BBQ Cook-Off being held at the Royal Kona Resort on August 13th are the following:

Royal Kona’s Don The Beachcomber

Don the Beachcombers Stand at last years BBQ Cook-Off

Big Jakes Island BBQ

Roy’s Waikoloa

Roy's Waikoloa at last years BBQ Cook-Off

Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Huggo’s

Fishhopper

Outrigger Keauhou

Banji’s Paradise Par and Grill in Waikoloa

Other restaurants are still submitting and getting their applications approved.

Also on hand that afternoon will be Henry Kapono, the Mai-Tai Festival and The Spin Doctors under the moon!

 

Mai Tai Mix-Off & Pool Party at the Royal Kona Resort

The Royal Kona Resort is offering a chance for local bartenders to compete for $10,000 dollars in the “Best Mai Tai” contest at Don the Beachcombers on August 12th.

Bartenders that want to qualify for this contest are invited to the Mai Tai Mix-Off & Pool party that will be held on Sunday July 10th.

Mai Tai Mix Off and Pool Party

The Worlds Best Mai Tai Fest, BBQ Cook-Off and The Spin Doctors Under the Stars

The Royal Kona Resort is having it’s 3rd Annual Mai Tai Festival, BBQ Cook-Off and Concert Under the Stars featuring The Spin Doctors on Saturday, August 13th, 2011.

Last year Third Eye Blind was the band that came from the mainland and I actually got on stage with them!

Here is a schedule of this years “mixer” with pictures from last years event.

Friday, August 12, 2011
5:00PM-6:00PM:VIP Reception and Meet & Greet the Spin Doctors (Invite Only)

8:30PM-11:30PM: Mai Tai Madness Kick-off Event. Don’s Mai Tai Bar will offer drink specials with music, dancing & Mai Tais. Join us for prizes, giveaways and more. Plus you never know who will show up at this special event.

Amy Day of Lahaina Bar and Grill

Amy Day of Lahaina Bar and Grill was a popular bartender last year

Saturday, August 13, 2011
11:00AM-2:00PM:
Battle of the BBQ and Mai Tai Marketplace at the Luau Grounds (Free Entry)
Come browse as local vendors and artisans from across Hawaii will display and sell their handcrafted items and delicious food.

Local restaurants/chefs compete for title of the World’s Best BBQ. Taster plates are available for purchase and you get to vote for People’s Choice.

BBQ Ribs

Voting open from 11:00am-1:30pm – with winner announced at 1:45pm.

Judges

All food & beverage purchases will be made by script. Script sales booths will be located throughout the property.

Script Sales

2:30PM-4:00PM:
Henry Kapono Poolside CD Release Party (Free Entry)
Henry and his band will take the stage poolside for one and a half hours of Live Music. Kick back or boogie down with a Mai Tai as we enjoy the island rhythms of this world renowned performer.

Henry Kapono

4:30PM-7:30PM:
Mai Tai Mix-off (Free Entry)
25 Bartenders from across the globe compete for the coveted title of World’s Best Mai Tai and the $10,000 cash prize.

Christian Self (right) from the 39 Hotel on Oahu holds his check and tiki trophy

Last years winner Christian Self (right) from the 39 Hotel on Oahu holds his check and tiki trophy

You will be amazed at the creative and inspired Mai Tais while you are entertained by Beachbum Berry. Beachbum is a certified Rum expert who will give us the low down on all things rum. Joey Gottesman, our esteemed emcee will keep you laughing and engaged for this 3-hour spectacular.

Mai Tai Contest

8:00PM:
Spin Doctors – Live and Under the Stars
Listen to the classic hits of the Spin Doctors as they play their first Hawaii concert on our Luau grounds stage. Tickets are on sale now and will sell out so be sure to book early. Cost is $55 per person. Seating is limited and intimate. Visit www.groovetickets.com to purchase.

And one week later on August 20th at the Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui… the Spin Doctors will also play.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/zzC5pPFyrXY]

Toad the Wet Sprocket Rocks the Royal Kona Resort’s Mai Tai Bar

Last night at the Royal Kona Resort, the band Toad the Wet Sprocket was scheduled to play outside under the stars in the Royal Kona Resorts courtyard.

Glen Phillips Jamming

Toad the Wet Sprocket's front man Glen Phillips jamming

Unfortunately mother nature turned for the worse and Kailua-Kona had a mean rain storm that forced the concert indoors to the Don the Beachcombers Mai Tai bar.

Don the Beachcombers Mai Tai Bar

Don the Beachcombers Mai Tai Bar

Due to the sound check earlier in the day being cancelled because of the weather, fans were able to get a first hand look at the band’s sound check inside of the place around 6:00 pm.

Check 123... Check 123

Check 123... Check 123

KBIG’s Keith Vachon was on hand to emcee the concert as local rocker Eric Gilliom opened the show.

Keith Vachon and Eric Gilliom

Keith Vachon and Eric Gilliom

The Eric Gilliom Band played about 7-8 songs.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRUWVNv8ZGI]

Eric Gilliom

Eric Gilliom

After Gilliom was through special guest Jim Majors played a few songs for the crowd and then it was time for Toad to take the stage!

Toad the Wet Sprocket live

Toad the Wet Sprocket live

Because of the change in the venue, fans were fortunate that they got to be so close to the band!

Dean Dining playing the bass guitar

Dean Dining playing the bass guitar

They were scheduled to take the stage at 7:30 but didn’t get on stage until about 8:30 which is pretty good considering the whole concert venue basically got moved.

Glen Phillips

Glen Phillips

The band had people dancing and grooving!

Dancing to Toad the Wet Sprocket

Dancing to Toad the Wet Sprocket

The concert was another excellent concert put on by the folks at Royal Kona Resort.

The Soundman

I was checking out the soundmans remote mixing board!

I’d like to thank the folks of the Royal Kona Resort for putting on these excellent concerts of late as well as inviting me to attend them!

A couple off duty staff members

A couple off duty staff members

I met with Glen Phillips this morning and this is what he told me about how the name “Toad the Wet Sprocket” came about:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VdY43-zWsk]

Toad the Wet Sprocket – “Fall Down”

Toad the Wet Sprocket will be playing Friday night at the Royal Kona Resort.  This is another one of my favorite (TTWS) songs:  Fall Down

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AWrPbcV7f0]

Click Here for more information

Toad the Wet Sprocket Coming to Hawaii!

One of my all time favorite groups from the early 1990’s was Toad the Wet Sprocket or “TTWS” as fans like to call them.  I’m stoked to hear that they are going to be coming to Hawaii performing at the Royal Lahaina on Thursday, May 5th and  performing at the Royal Kona Resort on Friday, May 6th.

I’ve got lots of favorite TTWS songs but my all time favorite is probably this one… “Walk on the Ocean”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aEJJe0QpSE]

…On April 12th, 2011 the band released a new Greatest Hits album titled “All You Want” in digital and disc form via their official website, the 11 track CD includes brand new studio versions of their hits, this will allow the band to regain their publishing and licensing of these songs, as they have no access to the versions they did for Columbia Records in the ’90s, aside from their first two albums, which they have regained full control over and plan to re-release, in remastered form, on their own label, Abe’s Records. this new hits disc will be released into stores and on all digital retailers and online retailers later in the summer.

Another favorite song of mine was “All I Want”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EAKUHn9nX4]

Dave Lawrence from Hawaii Public Radio informed me that he learned of the concert from a previous post I had written and he contacted the management team of TTWS and now has gotten a performance by their front man Glen Phillips on Oahu as well.

“…Singer/songwriter Glen Phillips, the front man for the successful American indie rock band Toad The Wet Sprocket, will make his debut in Hawaii Public Radio’s Atherton Performing Arts Studio in a solo concert on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. In addition to his single Oahu performance, he will also be performing a solo concert on Kauai (May 5th in Kapaa), following which, he and Toad The Wet Sprocket will be performing on Maui at the Royal Lahaina Resort on May 6th On May 7th, the band will also appear in Kailua-Kona at the Royal Kona Resort…”

I’m stoked the Royal Kona Resort has been bringing in so many quality groups of late!

For ticket information click here: Toad the Wet Sprocket at the Royal Kona Resort

Barry Flanagan of HAPA, Opens for Five for Fighting at the Royal Kona Resort

Last night was the Five for Fighting concert at the Royal Kona Resort and I just thought I’d write a quick post on Barry Flanagan, the guy that opened the concert for Five for Fighting.

Barry Flanagan of HAPA at the Royal Kona Resort

Barry Flanagan of HAPA at the Royal Kona Resort

Local boy Barry Flanagan of the group HAPA put on acoustic show that was awesome!  The weather was beautiful and the sun was just setting making for a great concert vibe.

Barry Flanagan opens for Five for Fighting at the Royal Kona Resort

A gorgesou Kona sunset

The Royal Kona Resort was the host of this great concert with Barry Flanagan and Five for Fighting and the amphitheater area of the resort was packed with folks.

Barry Flanagan of HAPA at the Royal Kona Resort

The crowd settles in for the concert

He talked to the crowd in between the songs and one thing he mentioned, was that when his group HAPA was touring recently… Sendai, Japan was the last stop of their tour so the Japan Tsunami has really affected him.

Leanne

I spy a Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort worker in the crowd!

I caught him backstage after he opened and he was very emotional about doing his first solo performance in front of such a large crowd as he normally performs with the entire band.  He had the following to say about the Japan Tsunami disaster and is obviously still emotional about it:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tAHMafxiEU]

Here is more information from his biography:

Barry Flanagan is an American singer-songwriter and musician and founder of the internationally acclaimed and award winning World Music group HAPA. Flanagan is known for his guitar-playing skills, vocal performances and ocean awareness projects. Born in New York City and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, Flanagan came to the Hawaiian Islands in 1980 to study and explore the Art of Kiho Alu, or Slack-Key Guitar, and Haku Mele, Hawaiian poetic song composing. Flanagan heard the recordings of Ry Cooder and Hawaiian Slack Key icon Gabby Pahinui while living in Colorado, which inspired Flanagan’s first visit and eventual move to Hawaii. Flanagan immersed himself in Hawaiian Culture and Art, seeking out Native speakers, Teachers and Composers of Hawaiian Poetry along with legendary Hawaiian Slack key players, passionately studying all the indigenous art forms with Hawaii as the backdrop. An “eternal wellspring of inspiration for Artists and Writers from around the globe” is how Flanagan describes Hawaii.

A prolific composer and performer, and one of Hawaii’s most respected and celebrated Recording Artists and Producers, Barry Flanagan has composed some of Hawaii’s popular songs of the last three decades. In 1994, the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts honored Flanagan, and Hawaiian Language Professor S.H. Kiope Raymond, with the prestigious “Haku Mele” award, an acknowledgement for Excellence in the Art of Song Composition in the Native Hawaiian Language. In 2004, Flanagan co-composed a song with friend Kenny Loggins for his Grammy nominated “More Songs from Pooh Corner” release. The song, entitled “Hana Aluna Lullaby” includes a chorus in the Hawaiian language, making this the first song utilizing Hawaiian lyrics to receive that distinction.

HAPA’s benchmark self-entitled first release in 1994 still remains the number one selling recording by a group or duo in the history of recorded Hawaiian music, sweeping all six categories it was nominated for at the 1994 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammy’s. “HAPA” was Produced, Composed, and Arranged by Flanagan, with supporting vocal performances by Grammy Award winning singer Kenny Loggins and Guitar performance by Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Stephen Stills.

All follow up HAPA recordings, 1997’s “In The Name of Love”(“The year’s best album”-Honolulu Advertiser); 1999’s  “Namahana”(“A Masterpiece”-The San Francisco Chronicle) and 2005’s “MAUI”debuted in Billboard Magazine’s World Magazine’s Top Ten.

Currently, HAPA’s music can be heard in the Adam Sandler Movie “Just Go With It”, released in theaters Febuary 2011.

Director Dennis Dugan also featured HAPA as “the band” in the movie’s supper club scene shot on Maui in May 2010.

http://beta100.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/546008/Hawaii-s–best-guys–provide-the-music-when-Adam-Sandler–Jennifer-Aniston–Just-Go-With-It-.html?nav=5014

Zumba for Charity at the Royal Kona Resort

Zumba for Charity

Coming in April – Five for Fighting

The Royal Kona Resort presents Five for Fighting one night only!

Live and under the stars – An intimate performance as -Singer/songwriter John Ondrasik performs his deeply personal songs that include social messages, invoke the human spirit and make an emotional connection. This can be heard on the past four albums by Five For Fighting, the band name under which he records and performs. Ondrasik’s debut album, the critically acclaimed, Message for Albert, was released in 1997. Five For Fighting’s breakthrough came in 2001 with the Grammy-nominated song “Superman” from the Platinum certified “America Town” (Aware/Columbia) CD.

APRIL 21, 2011
Thursday Night
Opening Act – TBD – 90% Barry Flanagan – Solo Sessions
Doors 6:00 PM

TWO TICKET TIERS:
VIP $85 – Premier Table Seating, Table Service and 2 Drink Tickets – Tables can only be reserved if buying 10 tickets.
GENERAL ADMISSION $65 – Theater style seating
TICKETS @ GROOVETICKETS.COM

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJN9YIOl1xE]

Toad The Wet Sprocket Coming to the Royal Kona Resort

I also got wind tonight that Toad the Wet Sprocket will be coming to the Royal Kona Resort.  This is a few weeks after the Five for Fighting concert and will be held on Friday May 6th.

TTWS, as many of their fans call them, have been a favorite of mine since the early 90’s and I can’t believe this is going to the first time I have ever seen them perform live!

One of my favorite songs is Walk on the Ocean:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyl_3s0uW3E]

Another favorite is “All I Want”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_CVkvKdzQs]

I look forward to both of these upcoming concerts!

Five For Fighting Coming to the Royal Kona Resort

*UPDATE* Tickets can be purchased below

I just got wind that the contemporary band Five for Fighting will be performing at the Royal Kona Resort on Thursday April 21st.

They are best known for their song 100 Years:

[youtube=youtube.com/watch?v=cpYCY5Rmi0w]

And the 2000 hit Superman (It’s Not Easy)

[youtube=youtube.com/watch?v=nnIrfZGnJTQ]

Hopefully I can get backstage with them or check out their sound check!

UPDATE: Tickets can be purchased here!

Top 10 Adventures in 2010… Numbers 6 and 5

Continuing on with my top 10 adventures in 2010 today brings us to adventures 6 and 5.

Coming in at #6 was having the chance to get up on stage with Third Eye Blind after the Don the Beach Comber’s Mai Tai Festival and Battle of the BBQ Contest at the Royal Kona Resort.

Not only did I get to watch them rehearse during their sound check I actually went on stage for about five minutes and caught some great pictures from that perspective.

The concert was actually after the Mai Tai Festival where Oahu bartender Christian Self walked away with a $10,000 check for the best Mai Tai.

It was a great day in that earlier folks had the chance to stuff themselves at the BBQ cook-off!

I’d like to thank the folks at The Royal Kona Resort for hooking me up with the above weekend!

Coming in at #5 was getting the opportunity to go up in a helicopter with Televisions own Howard Dicus and his wife and a Hawaii News Now cameraman.

Me, Howard Dicus and wife Bernadette and the Hawaii News Now Camerman

This was an awesome trip provided by Paradise Helicopters and the Big Island Visitors Bureau where we got a 3 hour customized tour of the Big Island! We started off down the Hamakua coast and made it almost as far as Waimea.

Just one of many waterfalls and valleys we got to see.

We then headed south and when we got to the active lava flows, we flew with the doors off of the helicopter so we could totally feel the heat of the lava flows.

Pu`u `O`o Crater

This was the first time that I had ever flew on a helicopter so it was quite an experience for me.

Howard on the other hand seemed like an old pro about it and even wrote on his blog posting “Up, up and away  over the Big Island“:

Many people say they won’t ride a helicopter because it scares them, but I have got to tell you that I find helicopter tours smoother and they provide better viewing of Hawaii’s beautiful scenery.

Bernadette and I took our first helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian on Maui last year, and Thursday we toured part of the Big Island with Cal Dorn, owner of Paradise Helicopters. With us was Damon Tucker, who writes one of my favorite Hawaii-based blog…