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Under loosened restrictions, Hilton Hawaiian Village hosts its first luau in nearly a year

Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 12:34 AM HST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2021 at 12:35 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After halting the event for nearly a year, the Hilton Hawaiian Village put on its Waikiki Starlight Luau for a room full of guests on Friday.

The Waikiki Starlight Luau is usually held on the beachfront “Great Lawn” at the resort, but due to bad weather the show was moved to one of the ballrooms.

According to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Managing Director Debi Bishop, their first show was sold out with 150 guests in attendance.

The pandemic halted the luau on March 19, 2020.

“It’s been tough on our people, you know, nobody’s been able to work, nobody’s been able to perform, because of all the restrictions,” said President and Owner of Tihati Productions Afatia Thompson.

But Thompson said it feels like they never left.

“Once we got on stage and started rehearsing a couple weeks ago, it has been like riding a bike, getting back on,” said Thompson. “And the kids, you know, nobody skipped a beat.”

Thompson said they had to make some modifications, including limiting the number of people on stage, making sure they have proper distancing in the dressing rooms and disinfecting after each number.

“A lot of hard work and education has gone into training all of our people to make sure that we’re compliant and fall within the guidelines that is given to us,” said Thompson.

Bishop said the resort already has COVID protocols in place, from sanitizing stations and requiring all guests and staff to wear masks.

As far as the luau, there is no longer a buffet.

The managing director said everything is served at the table, including cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

She said one of the biggest changes they made was their reservation system.

“Even though you see the seating in the table is larger, as they come in, either two or a family, or if you purchase the ticket as a group together, then we’ll seat them together,” explained Bishop.

The Waikiki Starlight Luau is currently hosting a show every Friday at 5 p.m.

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