From fruity rum-bused cocktails poured into handcrafted Polynesian-inspired mugs, to tiki huts, sunset dinners and the sounds of ‘60s-style exotica lounge music, tiki culture is alive and well in Scottsdale.
The Arizona Tiki Oasis festival returns to Hotel Valley Ho this month – and it’s so well-received, attendees have booked every single room at the resort.
Taking place April 22-25, Arizona Tiki Oasis offers a variety of experiences, including seminars, a pop-up art show, an outdoor marketplace, live music and more.
Some events are free, like the pop-up art show and outdoor marketplace, while others are tickets, like the Tiki-Tiki Ho-Ho Luau on the evening of April 23.
Here, attendees can feast on a traditional pig roast, fresh poke bowls, Crispy Cola Marinated Short Ribs, Hawaiian-themed desserts, and more — all while enjoying tropical libations and live music.
Tickets are $129 per person; and according to Arizona Tiki Oasis founders and producers Otto and Baby Doe von Stroheim, the luau is capped at around 200 people.
“In 2019, I think attendance was 400 people. So, it’s about half of what it was to allow for tables to be spaced out and for people to feel comfortable,” Baby Doe explained.
Baby Doe and Otto describe Arizona Tiki Oasis as a “choose your own experience” festival.
“Because it’s more of a connection with people, a lot of how we designed Arizona Tiki Oasis are smaller events – almost like you get to make your own journey or your own adventure in exploring the Hotel Valley Ho,” Otto said.
Baby Doe added that those staying at the resort “get the full experience.”
“They get to be in the pool. They get to go on the rooftop. They get to go into our evening seminars,” she said.
But Baby Doe and Otto still welcome off-site visitors to the festival, especially to the pop-up art show and the outdoor marketplace, which features more than 60 artists and vendors combined.
“Our most exciting one, I think, is our marketplace,” Baby Doe said.
“A lot of these artists have been working and working and working over the last 12 months, and they have these amazing creations,” she continued. “They are just so thrilled to have the opportunity to get these out in front of people – everything from tiki mugs, to carvings, jewelry, vintage clothing, and the list goes on.”
This year’s Arizona Tiki Oasis marks Scottsdale resident Jon Arvizu’s first time attending the event as featured artist and his second as attendee.
“I have a soft spot for the artful Tiki Genre of the 1960s,” Arvizu said. “I brought my family to the inaugural event in 2019 to see friends and local vendors and enjoy the Valley Ho.”
Arvizu has been designing and creating art featuring Arizona architecture and lifestyle for more than 20 years.
“In the right hands, ‘Tiki Desert Style’ is a natural fit,” he said. “One of my first jobs out of school was as a graphic designer at Fossil, and they have a very similar ‘Americana’ feel to the brand.”
“It’s fun to see that great 1960s style featuring local plants and places unique to our high desert landscape, and it creates an authentic event experience,” he said.
The marketplace takes place that Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., while the art show takes place Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to providing a gathering place for tiki lovers, Arizona Tiki Oasis is also dedicated to the “historic preservation of American Pop Culture through the lens of modern-day values.”
This year’s Arizona Tiki Oasis benefits Arizona Preservation Foundation, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that works with local, state, and national partners to promote and protect Arizona’s historic resources.
Arizona Tiki Oasis is the sister event of the popular and widely attended Tiki Oasis, conceived by Otto and Baby Doe von Stroheim in 2001.
The first event was held in Palm Springs as a fundraiser to support the rehabilitation of the Palm Springs Caliente Tropics Motel, and eventually moved to San Diego in 2006 to support the historic Bali Hai Restaurant and Hanalei Hotel.
Tiki Oasis is now the largest and longest-running Tiki event in the world.
Otto and Baby Doe expanded to Arizona because they were outgrowing Southern California.
And when Tiki Oasis started drawing crowds of around 4,000 to its five-night, four-day festival in San Diego, Otto and Doe knew they had to host a separate event elsewhere.
At Hotel Valley Ho this year, social distancing and masks will be enforced.
Hula’s Modern Tiki in Old Town will host the official Arizona Tiki Oasis kickoff party on April 22 from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The kickoff event is open to the general public and offers attendees’ first opportunity to pick up official 2021 AZ Tiki Oasis merchandize and collectible souvenirs.
“Go out and support local artist, mask up, and have fun!” Arvizu said.