The Sixth Annual Don the Beachcomber’s Mai Tai Festival on Hawaii’s Big Island at the Royal Kona Resort closed out August 16 with Michael Soo from Phoenix, AZ taking the $10,000 first prize for his mai tai creation he calls “A Hui Hou.”



Second place was Wendy Romlein from Haliimaile General Store on Maui, who won last year’s event. This time around, her “Tai Mai” concoction earned her $5,000. The third best mai tai recipe was created by Matt Corbin of Cane & Canoe restaurant at Montage Resort on Maui. His “77 Mai Tai” saw him win $2,500.

The 21 mai tai contestants were all required to use Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum in their recipes and demonstrate creativity in their presentations and naming of their drinks.

Also part of the Festival’s activities was the battle of the barbeques. The Judge’s Award for “Best BBQ” was taken by Roy’s Waikoloa restaurant on the Big Island. Broke Da Mouth Grindz & Catering from Kailua-Kona won the People’s Choice Award for best barbeque dish for the third year in a row. The two top prizes—Judges and People’s Choice awards—earned each of the winners five nights at the Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui, round-trip inter-island airfare for two, Royal Lahaina Luau for two, $500 food and beverage credit during their stay at the Royal Lahaina, and a round of golf for two at the Kaanapali Golf Course.

During Mai Tai Festival day, visitors were also treated to a free, poolside concert by popular entertainer Henry Kapono and his band, along with The Crafters Marketplace that showcased local arts and crafts.

Event sponsors were Hawaiian Hotels & Resorts, Southern Wine and Spirits, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Brad Parker – Tiki Shark, United Laundry Service, Pleasant Holidays, Tihati Productions, Waimea Sound, and Kona Brewing Company.

Plans are already underway for the Seventh Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival scheduled for next August. For additional information and hotel stay reservations, call toll-free 800-22-ALOHA (222-5642) or visit online at

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