Toting a tiki torch

The celebration of Polynesian pop culture known as Tiki Oasis is billed as "the largest and longest running Tiki Event on planet Earth." It grew even larger in its ninth year, according to organizers, when it filled the grounds of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego with nearly 2,000 Tiki aficionados over four days in mid-August.

Mixed in with the symposiums on rum and chocolate, screenings of "Tikimentary," book signings and a car show was what many would consider the visual highlight of the weekend: a tiki fashion show produced by Melissa Gruenhagen, owner of the Retro Diva website, including vintage looks from her stockpile of Hawaiian fashions.

The result was a cadre of colorful kahunas and winsome wahines cavorting on a bamboo framed stage. Luckily, more than a few from the fashion show -- and the costume contest that followed -- ended up making their way to our nearby Photo Booth. By the end of the night, the mai tais made it hard to tell the difference between the fashionistas and the costume contestants, but in the end, it didn't seem to matter. It was all in the aloha spirit.

-- Adam Tschorn

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