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$10,000 up for grabs at ‘Mai Tai Festival’

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Celebrating the legacy of the man who invented the main tropical mixed drink, the 2nd Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Royal Kona Resort on the Big Island.

Bartenders from across the globe will compete in a grand mix-off to win a $10,000 cash prize and earn the honor of creating the World’s Best Mai Tai. (Judges will be award-winning celebrity chef Sam Choy, Bacardi Brand Master William Ramos, publisher of Hawaii Beverage Guide Chris Teves, nationally published rum and mai-tai expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, and mixologist Joey Gottesman.)

Throughout the day, the fest’s marketplace will feature local vendors selling artwork, crafts, clothing and local produce. Patrons will also be able to taste and vote for their favorite creation in the World’s Best BBQ contest. Award-winning celebrity chef Sam Choy will also be doing culinary demonstrations, and the day will end with a special acoustic performance under the night skies by best-selling rock band Third Eye Blind.

Registration forms for both the mix-off and BBQ contest can be downloaded at Mix-off forms must be submitted by July 14 and has to include a photo of the particular mai-tai concoction and a non-refundable $25 registration fee. Restaurants and chefs entering the BBQ contest must mail their forms before the July 15 deadline.

The festival is free and open to the public, but script will be sold for food and beverage purchases (certain food and drinks will be sold via cash and credit).

Admission to the Third Eye Blind concert is $35 general admission and $50 VIP seating, and tickets are available at

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