Originally started in 2002 as the Northwest Tiki Crawl, Tiki Kon has evolved to become a full weekend festival celebrating exotic tropical destinations and the Tiki bars, cocktails, art, music and fashions they inspire. It's four days of music, dancing, dining, drinks, art, parties, shopping, educational talks and workshops, meet-ups, and more.
Tiki Kon gets its inspiration from the highly-stylized Polynesian-themed restaurants and lounges that were popular in the decades after World War II. Those Tiki temples ushered in a whole genre of art, fashion, architecture, music and mixology that swept the nation. It was the era of the Tiki Bar.
Though the genre drew inspiration from various Polynesian cultures, it was a distinctly American phenomenon--a mash-up that was also heavily influenced by the popular music and design trends of the day. It was fueled by the advent of trans-Pacific air travel, GIs returning from the South Pacific after WWII, and Hawaiian statehood in 1959. The obsession started in the 1930s and lasted for decades until Tiki's decline in the 1960s and 70s, and near extinction in the 80s. Luckily the late 90s and early aughts brought the beginnings of a revival that is still going strong, and is now entering a new, post-revival era.
Tiki Kon started in the early revival years, in 2003, with a home bar crawl between friends. It now entertains guests from the Pacific Northwest and across North America and has grown to become an exciting weekend gathering for fans of Tiki bars, vintage travel, fashion, live entertainment, classic cocktails and socializing. The event also features vending, symposiums, cocktail classes, fashion show, luau-style banquet and more. The finale is the Tiki Kon home bar tour—it’s the longest-running bar crawl of its kind!
For us at Tiki Kon, it's an excuse to engage in adult cosplay...wearing vintage Hawaiian shirts and drinking strong tropical-inspired cocktails, and re-creating the exotic tiki lairs of the past. It's our opportunity to re-live an American era that most of us are not old enough to remember--one that's rich in both American and international culture. The revival is our generation's opportunity to not just entertain, but also educate, raise awareness, and promote and support the cultures that inspire us. It's our chance to do it right, without the sexism, racism, and other social baggage of the past century. But mainly it's a fanciful escape from the day to day drudgery of our lives--a place of beauty, joy, and inclusiveness in an increasingly polarized and hostile world.
Tiki Kon is operated by Sandy Bottom Productions LLC, Portland, Oregon, and produced by Greg Clapp and Justin DuPré since 2013. The event was previously produced by NW Tiki LLC.