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Insider tips: Hit the 30th Annual Hale Aina Awards in style

Do Yourself a Flavor


Hale Aina Awards

What's better than gaining access to one of the hottest food events of the year? Getting insider tips to really enjoy one of the hottest food events of the year.

For the first: If you haven't already snagged a ticket to HONOLULU Magazine's 30th Annual Hale Aina Awards, do it now. Just 25 of them remain for a chance to indulge in exquisite dishes by nine award-winning restaurants, from Alan Wong's to Vintage Cave, and hosted libations this weekend.

For the second: Well, that's where we come in. We sneaked a peek at all the juicy party plans for a list of tips that'll make your evening a magical one.

Dress appropriately. The attire is cocktail, the decor "aqua-lectric," a mystical, under-the-sea color scheme of rich jewel blues, sea foam greens and iridescent plums. Whether you don a sequin shift or flowy maxi to match, leave the stilettos at home and wear wedges instead. After two-and-a-half hours of walking/standing on grass, your feet will thank you.

Get there early. Plan on arriving before 6:45 p.m. to avoid valet backup (or, worst case scenario, a full lot), explore the grounds and take photos in the First Hawaiian Bank photo kiosk. To forget traffic and parking headaches altogether, request Uber and score $20 off your first ride with the code HALEAINA2013.

Do your homework. Use the map below to target your favorite restaurants and plan your route. Bonus: See what each restaurant will be serving ahead of time! The full menu is posted here.

Hale Aina Awards

Head straight to the back. Tents at the back of the lawn tend to be the least crowded. Once you grab a plate (or two!), then double back. That way, you'll have something delicious to eat while waiting in line.

Hold onto your utensils. This year, cutlery will be available at designated stations rather than individual food booths. Save your fork to avoid return trips and jump quickly from line to line.

Look up! Watch aerialists spontaneously climb, spiral and spin gracefully in the trees. Performers dressed as ethereal sea creatures will also be roaming the grounds.

Talk to strangers. Stop at any one of 30 highboy and 30 sit-down cocktail tables as you work your way through the lineup, and don't be afraid to ask strangers to share — it's a great way to mingle. Besides, hoarding one table the entire night isn't so appealing when your next food booth is on the opposite side of the grove.

Hit the unofficial after-party. Head to Rumfire at Sheraton Waikiki for post-party cocktails. Don't worry about your car ($8 for self parking in Sheraton's lot), validation is good for both.

HONOLULU Magazine's 30th Annual Hale Aina Awards gala takes place this Sunday, 7-9:30 p.m., at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort. Tickets cost $100 and are available here with proceeds to benefit the Culinary Institute of the Pacific. Event photo by Kelli Bullock.

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