7 Expert Tips to Celebrate the Hottest Party in Town at the Hale ‘Aina Awards

Brb, daydreaming about food comas.
Photo: Ross D. Hamamura/SONY 


Lester and Madeleine.

POTUS motorcade traffic.

The demise of Hiddleswift.


We’ve dealt with a couple of tough, stressful situations this past week and we deserve a treat. Sure, a glass of wine and a Big Hunk usually do the trick, but we’re thinking we need a slightly stronger dose of feel-good vibes this time around.


How about we throw the biggest, foodiest, glammiest party in town? And you’re invited! The annual Hale ‘Aina Awards Celebration is almost upon us and will feature some of Hawai‘i’s top culinary talents serving their creations alongside free-flowing drinks at the gorgeous Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Since we’re all about prepping (it IS hurricane season, after all), we’re getting an early start on our arrangements for the big event, and you should too. Here are a few tips for how to dress, plan and maximize your good time at this party of the year.


See you at the bar.


The Hale Aina Awards Celebration takes place Sunday, Sept. 25, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased here.


1. Make your match.

Get in the spirit of the night by grabbing a get-up that goes with the evening’s theme, “starlight soiree.” Here’s a hint: The go-to colors will be a classic mix of blush, gold and champagne, so select something elegant and chic in one of those hues, and don’t be afraid to glam it up a bit! Translation: It’s a perfect time to bust out those pearls you’ve been hoarding.


2. Anticipate your appetite.

About that outfit: Keep it stylish but don't box (or zip) yourself in. There are loads of ways to get class and roominess in one ensemble, so stay away from sheaths and body-cons that will show every last scallop in your burgeoning belly. We're thinking a flirty, pleated trapeze dress or edgy, modern-cut tunic dress. And you can still show some skin! Just opt for shorter hemlines or bare arms, like with a trendy off-the-shoulder top or illusion neckline detail.


3. Get low.

We love our stilettos as much as the next gal, but you may want to reach for the flats this night around. There will be a grassy lawn, lines for grub and strolling from food booth to food booth, so you'll want to stay comfy. Embellished sandals are our bag right now, whether with gems, beading or poms poms, so play it up!


4. Layer is cake.

Go glam, yes, but style it up smart, too. This is an outdoor event so a wrap or cover-up for when the temp drops may be a good idea if you tend to catch a chill—plus a slyly-placed shawl does wonders for covering up budding food babies.


5. Keep time.

We know you love to be fashionably late, but do yourself a favor and arrive with time to spare, around 6 p.m. That way you’ll save yourself the headache of parking and you’ll be able to make a beeline toward the Johnson Brothers of Hawai‘i wine bar in time to score a table right in front. Oh, and, by the way: Self-parking is available at the Sheraton Waikīkī or valet parking at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort.


6. Take your ticket.

No, seriously. Don’t forget to print that bad boy so you can fly through check-in! The last thing you want is to get hangry after realizing you left your paper at home.


7. Pick your poison—in advance!

Get familiar with the delish dishes that will be served up by perusing the dish list beforehand. That way, you can plan your night accordingly. Don’t want to miss the Mission Social Hall & Café mochiko ‘ulu? Hop in line there ASAP! Can’t stop thinking about chowing down on Fête’s fried chicken? Make it a priority! That way, you won’t be stuck in line for food that’s not your fave and accidentally overlook your destiny dish, or even, god forbid, dally long enough for grub to run out.