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Church / Community Luau - Round 2! (Update)

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(FYI, if any Mod feels this would be better suited to a subforum, please feel free to move it)

Okay, okay, I may have bitten off more than I can chew with this one...

My church's men's group was looking for ideas for fundraisers for later this year to replace the venerable Spaghetti Supper they used to hold, and I decided to open my big mouth and ask if they would be interested in doing a pig roast. But, not just a pig roast, a Hawai'ian style kalua pig roast, complete with all the trappings and decorations. Oh, and after dinner, let's hold a showing of Blue Hawaii to go with the theme. And hey, since there's not enough going on already, maybe I can organize a small Exotica combo to provide live music? Oh, and let's hold this down at the Town Park bandshell and sell tickets to the public. 'Bout 200 people's worth.

The committee made me the point person for the whole thing. Me and my big mouth.

Now, I've done a good bit of research in the last couple of months, and have sourced a supplier for the pig and roaster, done my due diligence and contacted the licensing company for the film, and am in process of pulling together the few people in the area who might be able to help make up the pop-up band. What I could use some pointers on is some of the finer details. What might be our best options for an accompanying menu? Pointers on decorations, considering this has to be set up and torn down in the same day? Logistics ideas from anyone who has dealt with putting together a similar event? All Welcome.

I do have a tentative menu in mind, but this is very open to modification:

Appetizer: Tuna & (imitation) crab Poke, served over a small portion of rice or seaweed salad.

Main Course: Kalua Roast Pork, served shredded, optional Maui BBQ sauce. (on buns?)

Sides: Fresh mixed fruit (whole - available on tables? - and/or prepared) Hawai'ian sweet fruit bread (sliced loaves or individual muffins?) Mixed greens and spicy tomato salad

Dessert: Shave Ice with a selection of fruit syrups

Beverages: Fruit punch, Ice Tea, Lemonade, water (coffee?)

One of the several sticking points is sourcing an ice shaver, or, has anyone had luck with one of the hand-held shavers I've seen floating around on eBay?

This is turning out to be a lot of work, but the payoff will be worth it. Mahalo.

[ Edited by Bam Bam on 2023-03-26 15:02:09 ]

[ Edited by Bam Bam on 2023-03-26 15:02:46 ]


Good luck with your event.

The last time the church and tiki met it did not go so well.

Hamo posted on Mon, May 16, 2022 9:02 PM

Wow, this does sound really ambitious.

Before I saw that you had fruit punch on the menu, I thought of Trader Vic's Queen Charlotte Fruit Punch. Recipe is from the book, Trader Vic's Tiki Party:

3 c orange juice
1 1/2 c pineapple juice
1 1/2 c lemon juice
1 1/2 c passion fruit syrup
3/4 c grenadine
6 c sparkling water
6 c ice cubes

Combine everything but sparkling water in a 2-gallon punch bowl. Add sparkling water and ice, and stir gently.

As for other ideas for food and decorations, let me pull out my midcentury booklet, How You Can Give Hawaiian Parties, and see if there's anything interesting there.

Sounds like fun! Here's my 2 cent's worth. With any of your menu choices for a large group, sometimes "the appearance of authenticity" is desirable over actual authenticity. Poi is very authentic but few people will even try it let alone eat a full serving.

I would avoid any representation of Tikis at the church. Some "Karen" will insist that they are idols

Outside of California, Poke might be a hard sell? And there is the worry of food safety with raw fish and keeping it cold.

Kalua pork is an excellent idea. Very tasty and can be done at a decent price point. I have done a few whole pigs and can share my (limited) knowledge. You can search "Imu" here on TC and find some stuff. Whole pigs are a lot of work, crock pots and roaster ovens make great kalua pork. If you are doing large volume you can find some bear claws to help shred it. Huli Huli Chicken thighs or leg quarters is also a good option.

White Rice or fried rice make a great side dish, rice can be cooked in a roaster oven too. Macaroni Salad is commonly served at Luaus in Hawaii.

Shaved ice sounds problematic. I would recommend Pineapple Upside Down cupcakes. You can make them a day or 2 in advance, or even weeks in advance and freeze them. Individually wrap them - no serving issues, no mess, no melting.

I keep a list of Hawaiian and "Pseudo Hawaiian" foods for menu ideas. I will try to remember to post it here when I get home

3vab posted on Thu, May 19, 2022 5:41 AM


[ Edited by 3vab on 2022-09-25 11:12:48 ]


Thanks for the input, guys. I appreciate the concern about the "idols in church" issue, but in fact the church had already borrowed the few carvings I'd made a couple years ago to decorate for an island-themed Bible school! So I think in general having a couple abstract tikis on stage with the band down at the town park (this won't be in the church) won't offend the parishioners or the rest of the public. And our pastor was the one to suggest I bring the luau idea to the men's group, so the leadership is on board with the concept. I fully realize the fine line between appreciation and appropriation, so I'm trying to err on the side of paying homage and keeping things in a retro mid century party mode.

I agree that poke may not be feasible in the end due to refrigeration issues. I just adore it so much, and would love to spread the knowledge of it around a bit. I know there are many forms of poke, perhaps leave out the tuna and turn it into an asian-fusion crab salad instead?

Mike, I love the idea of individual upside down cupcakes! If I can't swing the shave ice, that is definitely the backup plan now.


So here is a recipe that I made back when I worked at OSU making that food you hated at the dining commons. but this one is pretty good and there is a too big batch recipe and a too small batch recipe. We don't like coconut, so we leave it out when we make it. But hey if you have 24 pounds of margarine and 16 number ten cans of pineapple make the big batch, we made this in an 80-gallon steam kettle. AND would be best to make this the day of event as Pineapple can kinda burn the rice if ya know what I mean.

I think you could have problems with the "hey you are appropriating our culture people" myself, depends what state you are in I would guess. They would kill you in Hawaii.

Don't have it in May or June.

From Wikipedia...... Kill Haole Day Date The second to last day of school (May or June) Location Hawaii, U.S.

IMG_0927 (2) IMG_0928 (2)

[ Edited by tikiskip on 2022-05-19 06:38:47 ]


Ooh! Thank you, Skip. That does sound good, and it reminds me of my Aunt's pineapple casserole that she makes for the combined family for breakfast at Christmastime.

Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I'm hoping the Karens out there will find other things to clutch pearls over. Being deep in the heart of PennsylTucky, it's like attitudes around here have shifted (unfortunately) very little since the '50s, with the exception of the University in town. Party City Tiki is rampant at every dollar store in the area this time of year (and there are many). Personally, I'd rather be accused of trying to be too authentic than accused of mocking a culture. I've been accused of worse in my life.


A thought occurs... what about the possibility of take-home "mugs" to mark the occasion? I can't see us springing for a custom ceramic piece, but does anyone have suggestions for perhaps something suitable in plastic that could be customized for the event? There is the chance this could become an annual thing if all goes well.

[ Edited by Bam Bam on 2022-05-19 07:36:39 ]


So how bout not a take home mug but a necklace that they make at the event this would need a few staff to work the booth.

But you could get sculpey clay and maybe make a few molds of tiki or crosses too for kids that don't want to freehand what they make then they could be baked in a small oven and given to the kids to pick up later.

Hang them in the booth with the kids name on it.

The oven would be done by the staff and not near people. Put on a string or that plastic necklace stuff and away they go.

Hobby lobby is a pretty Churchie store they might donate stuff or give you a deal on items needed.


Here are some molded resin items I made some time ago. The top ones are from the Kahiki.

IMG_1801 IMG_0342

[ Edited by tikiskip on 2022-05-20 16:12:06 ]


I love it! Although, this is only going to be a two and a half hour event, with most of that after dark movie time. We'd probably have to have any pieces prepped beforehand for ready assembly.

Oh! If I could only find a Brady Tiki! That would fit perfectly with the retro vibe, and some visitors might even get the reference. Maybe I could sculpt something close enough. I do have a Moai ice mold...

Hamo posted on Sat, May 21, 2022 8:55 PM

Buzzy sells Brady tikis: https://www.etsy.com/listing/150231147/brady-bunch-tiki-necklace-wear-the-same

Or you could go with leis instead. Oriental Trading has some that look pretty good: https://www.orientaltrading.com/party-supplies/apparel-and-accessories/hawaiian-leis-a1-555638-1.fltr

You'd mentioned take-home mugs--what about Mai Tai "glasses"? You could print 12-/14-oz plastic "stadium cups" with Trader Vic style tapa, hibiscus, PNG masks, etc., and maybe even include the event name (such as "[Church's] Inaugural Mid-Century Luau") and date.

Custom glasses would be great - first person that comes to mind for Tiki related graphics is Gene, though I don't know about the cost level or timing - http://www.southpacificpromotions.com/

He and others also do things like custom swizzles, etc. that would be fun. If all those end up being too costly, I've seen people do custom labels for water bottles that might work? There are options on etsy.

Something like Huli Huli chicken would fit if you need more options.

I like Haupia as an easy dessert - you can just make a bunch up in pans and cut into small pieces. Although I bet Shave Ice would be a hit, but probably easiest if there happened to be a local vendor.

There are even Hula halau in Pennsylvania & Kentucky, though it sounds like you may not have time for performances. But a bit of live music as you mentioned would be great.

Christian churches in Hawaii hold luau all the time, and it sounds like your group is respectful. It doesn't have to be a problem.


I was not familiar with Haupia until now, interesting. I feel like I have to find some way to work that in now.

I think we've settled on leis with some kind of pendant as the souvenir. Since we're showing Blue Hawaii, I'm thinking of sculpting a small Elviki and casting copies in resin. I've got a resin casting kit, but it's really meant for very small items, and doesn't come with much in the way of resin. I'd better start sourcing supplies soon, if I want 200+ castings completed by August!

Skip, do you have a recommendation regarding brands of resin?


Have only used Casting craft brand it is really tricky sometimes and if you don't get the mix right it will remain sticky forever it seems. But it does get hard if you just let it sit there sealed in the can without mixing in the hardener so use it all fast as you can.

It can be costly so I would buy it when Michales used to have those half off coupons and I would buy lots of it, well sometime later its hard as a rock, new unopened cans of it.

Start it now as that will take you some time to do.

Also, I thought you could make sugar cookies and spray them with that edible food grade spray that comes in different colors, can be found at Joannes.

Just make a Tapa stencil and spray them with brown and black Tapa pattern.


Once again, Skip, I love it! Tapa cookies will absolutely have to make the list of desert options.

We had our first official Luau Committee meeting last night, good progress made. Have a couple ladies with event planning and theater backgrounds taking on setup and decoration. One gentleman has experience in resin casting, so he is going to run some pendant experiments!

Finding local musicians is turning into the hardest part of this plan. I've turned to asking the area HS band directors if any students would be interested. We shall see if it leads anywhere.

Skip, I like the idea of tapa cookies. I'm not sure how well the color spray would work on un-iced cookies, I'm afraid it might just soak in and not show well. But I bet it would do well on hardened tan royal icing.


Yeah test will need to be done. your idea sounds good though.

Maybe make them square as well.

A sample Tapa cloth to hang up might let people see what yer talking about too.


At long last, a poster!

Luau Poster Elviki

(Originally had a headshot of The King, but was reminded by Staples that his estate is cracking down on representations of his actual person. So, ELVIKI it is!)

If any Centralites or other Tikiphiles will be in the area that weekend, here's the link!

Thanks again for all the ideas, guys. It really has been a big help.

[ Edited by Bam Bam on 2022-06-25 13:21:52 ]


I love it when a plan comes together.


Damn this place must be dead as Tipsy Mcstagger did not say anything about using the Elvetiki on that poster.


I must have missed that drama. Is there something about that carving I should know?

I could swear I actually saw it listed for sale on FB a couple months ago. If only!

Looks good BamBam! (Did you mean to post that last comment somewhere else?)

No, I was replying to Skip (but forgot to actually hit reply). Just wondering if using a pic of the Elviki in this case was some faux pas...


Nothing big but I thought that design was Tipsys and somebody was makin em it was long ago. I know he made a resin Elvitiki he sold en mass.


Update! After much searching and begging, the band has come together! We are (unofficially) for the duration of the evening, The Pahu Grunts Orchestra. Playlist to include many favorite Exotica standards, and some weird ones as well.

This has been, as always, a labor of love. Now to see it through!


So, we made the Fruited rice the other day without coconut, and it was good we had Teriyaki Chicken and that went really well with it.

Don't know the price difference of Tuna, Chicken and, pork are these days or if making money is of importance or not.

But as far as ease of making Pork would come on top with chicken maybe being second and pork and chicken would keep better longer.

Tuna might be a hard sell for many people.

And as far as the handheld ice shaver, you would hate life for the amount of time you would be shaving ice with that thing and trying to keep up with the orders.

I foresee a lot of "sorry for the wait folks it takes time to shave the ice by hand" with that hand shaver.

They do have smallish motor ones you might be able to buy on eBay.


I've got my eye on a couple old cast iron Japan-built shaving machines on the 'Bay. Not for this year, but maybe for the next!


The good thing about these small ones is they will die at some point in the event, and then you don't have to mess with the sticky shaved ice anymore.

There might be a place that rents bigger ones for fairs and stuff like that in your area as well this type of place will sell the syrup you need as well.

You could shave up a large amount and put in the freezer to be ready when event starts as well, do a test to see how well this works days before though.

It might just refreeze back into a huge ice snowball that you can't break up.

Here are some small ones on eBay.....




I've actually got a small countertop shaver, Pampered Chef I think, but I got it second hand and missing the round mold for the ice block. Could probably get away with repurposing a small deli tub.

On another note, here's a teaser of the band from practice this evening!


Sad to say, we've had to pull the plug on the Luau dinner and movie, at least for this year. There is still the possibility that the Pahu Grunts Orchestra will perform in the park that night (we still have the bandshell reserved after all).

Thank you, everyone, for your advice and ideas. Now that we have the ground work laid out, we are looking forward to next year!



So, what happened to cancel the event?

Several factors, but the biggest being very slow ticket sales. We sat down and crunched the numbers, and agreed that if we didn't sell enough to break even (or close to it) by the cut off date, that we would have to cancel the biggest parts of the event, simply because we would be running at a massive loss - and remember, we are just a church Men's group, we don't have a lot of loose cash laying around!

I think many things worked against us. The time of year (the number of people on vacation or at weddings in early August is staggering once you take account!), competing, well-established events on the same night that we didn't realize would be happening at the same time, and a lot of financial uncertainty in these parts right now made folks hesitant to drop cash on tickets too far in advance.

We've learned from our mistakes though! looking at Mid-September of next year, when school is back in session and vacations are less likely to conflict. We have a lot more time to prepare for the next go around, and now we have a head start when it comes to researching suppliers.

The band WILL play on, however! Still planning to livestream the show, so keep an eye peeled for the link on August 6th.

Bam Bam, I'm sorry. I know what it's like to lay awake nights planning for something that doesn't come to fruition. Save your notes and hope for the best next year <3


Thanks Mike. I came into this idea knowing there was a chance it might not get off the ground. We live and learn.

Happily, the Pahu Grunts Orchestra will be playing a week from tonight, and we hope to whip up some interest in next year's Luau.

As promised, here is the link to the scheduled livestream on FB! Tune in at 7PM eastern next Saturday!

Aw, drat. I'm sorry it didn't work out for this year, but I bet it'll just end up being even better when it happens next year!

Glad the band still gets to play - sounds like a perfect preview. Hope you get a great turn out!


I am pleased as Hawaiian Punch to announce that as of now, our Town Park Luau is a go for attempt #2 this September!

After pulling together reps from the church men's group, the Town Park association, and the Mayor himself, we are now looking at this event from a completely different angle. Whereas last year the Luau was conceived as a) mainly a fundraiser, and b) all-inclusive with general admission only, now with some welcome outside input and underwriting from a local employer we will make the screening of Blue Hawaii free and open to all, only charging for access to the buffet line! On top of that, we will be adding some tropical-themed games and activities, to be run by the local Scout council and several other community groups that we plan to invite to participate.

(Also, the mayor says he is in favor of bonfires or braziers, administered by the fire dept., which is awesome.)

The last possibility, and one I am very excited about, is the addition of - get this - a Tiki Bar building and decorating contest! Participants get to deck out a small designated plot with their best rendition of a Tiki Bar. The winner gets bragging rights and will be dubbed Grand Poo-Bah of the evening!

I feel so much better approaching the Luau from this fresh perspective. We have a long road ahead, but with luck and some involvement from the community at large, I think this could turn out to be a bigger and better event than last year ever could have been.

As before, all are invited! Saturday Sept. 9 at Bloomsburg Town Park, PA. Stay tuned!


Already a big update - just confirmed we will have a local dance school providing some hula fun!

September can't come quick enough!

Sounds like an awesome fun event, keep us posted!


A small update, but one I think will be important in the long run, we now have a dedicated Facebook page for the Luau. Feel free to follow!

Bloomsburg Community Luau

[ Edited by Bam Bam on 2023-03-28 13:40:56 ]

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