History Lesson: 614Tiki Week and a Newly Discovered Kahiki Story
Three of strong, Six One Four of “Week” – Columbus’ First Tiki Week
These last two stanzas must be joined and tweaked a little as this is also a build up to Columbus’ first ever Tiki Week! The trio behind 614 Tiki, Rebecca Monday, Sara Rose aka “DJ Lady Sandoval” and Greg Burnett (The 3 of Strong) got the idea to have Tiki Week (614 of week) in Columbus and they have a great background to really pull it off!
614Tiki started last year as an idea that Little Rock had to showcase the amazing cocktail prowess of Rebecca Monday which started out as “Rebecca Mondays” on Monday at Little Rock. She approached Greg and Sara to give her side hustle a big assist and as they all love Tiki culture (Sara grew up in LA and counts Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room amongst her favorite places!), they thought they could plan a menu of Tiki-inspired cocktails for the night and that snowballed into turning it into a pop-up Tiki bar for the event! Greg shared that “We love Tiki and found out that apparently Columbus loves it, too!”
Greg and Rebecca bartended and Sara learned how to DJ from her pal Jay and on that first night a year ago, over 250 people stood in lines up to 4 and 5 deep to quench their thirst with delicious Tiki cocktails and 614 Tiki was launched!
The week of all things Tiki kicked off with our 614Tiki pals Pop-Up at Little Rock on August 4th. In all, fifteen bars, breweries, and speakeasies are participating in 614 Tiki Week which is being sponsored by Appleton Estate Rums.
Those participating are Bottleshop, Citizens Trust, El Camino, Hoofhearted, Huli Huli, Light of Seven Matchsticks, Little Rock, Moulton, Oddfellows, Oracle, Palle by Moretti, Two Truths, Vaso, Watershed, and Wunderbar
It runs August 4th – 10th and all of the establishments listed will have special Tiki themed cocktails with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the charity of their choice. Additionally, Grass Skirt will offer Tiki Tuesday on August 6th. On Wednesday August 7th Columbus Craft Cocktail Tour will offer a special Tiki Week Tour and Palle by Moretti will have Tiki Drag Night. On Thursday August 8th, Cauldron Tattoo will host Tiki Week Tattoo Flash Day from noon – 7:00 PM (first come, first served).
The week culminates on August 10th with the Hula Hop just outside of Grass Skirt. Hula Hop was the brainchild of the Fraternal Order of the Moai (FOM) which was formed by Matt “Kuku Ahu” on January 1, 2005 with his pals Jim “Chisel Slinger” Robinson and Joel “Cowtown Kahuna” Gunn.” We were all big Kahiki fans and wanted to form a tiki-philes club with a nod to the Shriners and the fraternal societies of old. We wanted to don fezzes and raise money for charities while celebrating Tiki culture and promoting fellowship” said Matt. The FOM to date has actually raised over $120,000 and today is 160 members strong nationwide.
So early on, lots of the folks in the FOM were also into rock-a-billy and hot rods as well as Tiki so the first Hula Hop in 2005 was actually the Hot Rod Hula Hop. The idea caught on and besides the local “Kahiki” chapter of the FOM, chapters began to form in other states leading to the FOM’s largest gathering in Upstate New York called Ohana in 2007. Ohana continues to this day, with 2019 seeing the largest attendance yet. The FOM grew so large that in 2010 they held their first convention before Ohana. (I asked Matt for details, but he was and is sworn to secrecy!)
In 2012, the FOM got word that the Columbus Food League (CFL) was going to open a Tiki bar and the National Secretary of the FOM got in touch with Harold Larue of CFL. It was then that the FOM and Carmen met at the site of Grass Skirt and the FOM worked closely with CFL to assist with providing Tiki carvers, lamp stylists, Tiki menus, and Matt even trained the crew in how to properly craft Tiki drinks.
“Carmen was exceedingly driven to get things just right” said Matt and in short order, Grass Skirt was open and the volunteer driven Hula Hop was in its backyard.
Hula Hop 2019 will feature vendors of new and vintage Polynesian fashion, mugs, and ephemera and there will also be performances by the Artist Wrestling League, DJ Lady Sandoval, Shorty Allen, AmpFibians , Methmatics, Mummula (Mummy meets Dracula) and Psychocharger (think Cramps meets Rob Zombie) and all the proceeds will go to benefit Cure Childhood Muscular Dystrophy (CMD).