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Waikiki Sunset on the Beach

Combine a free concert, drive-in movie (sans the car) and beach picnic and what do you come out with? Sunset on the Beach!

Sunset on the Beach in Waikiki got its start back in 2001, and to today remains a popular weekend attraction for tourists and locals alike.

Many high profile events are staged at this venue, such as red carpet premiere screenings of the hit TV show ‘LOST’, Don Ho’s Celebration of Life tribute, to most recently, the ‘Parade of Champions’, which took place yesterday on Labor Day evening. A little more on that later, no pun intended.

Usually the presentations and live performances take place beginning at 4, 5 or 6pm while the sun’s still up, followed by an exclusive video program and/or movie on the big screen when the night falls.

As you see, it literally is right ON Queen’s Surf beach in Waikiki, just across the street from Honolulu Zoo, and steps away from the shoreline.

The 30 ft. screen’s trussed frame support and raised stage at the base is a permanent structure, while the screen itself is brought out and erected by a cable-and-beam system on the afternoon of each Sunset on the Beach event. Weather-permitting of course.

When there isn’t Sunset on the Beach, this same area serves as the designated area for Beach Volleyball games.

Here you can see where it is even at a distance, with that giant screen up and numerous vendor tents (in white) and bistro umbrella tables out (blue) surrounding the venue…

When you see the tents up and chairs out, you know that weekend is going to have Sunset on the Beach, as the City and County usually sets it up on the Friday before it.

Sturdy metal chairs are provided for the surrounding area…

…while right in front of the screen is an open sand area where most folks like to grab a spot so they can sit on their own mats, beach chairs and coolers full of grinds.

Speaking of grinds, also available are a variety of food vendors to choose from. These were the vendors there at last Sunday’s event…

Le Crepe Cafe – Sweet & Savory French Crepes

M&N’s Treats

Royal Hawaiian Hot Dog & Shave Ice

Royal Hawaiian Hot Dog & Shave Ice

Time 2 Grind

Ba-Le Sandwich & Vietnamese Food

Ba-Le Sandwich & Vietnamese Food

Ba-Le Sandwich & Vietnamese Food

Ba-Le Sandwich & Vietnamese Food

K’s Restaurant

K’s Restaurant

Papa John’s Pizza

There’s a sign board where they post the movies showing for the weekend of a SOTB event…

Click photo to zoom in

The featured movies that weekend were Pirates of the Carribean: World’s End on Saturday, August 23rd, with Guardians of the Sea & Surf’s Up on Sunday, August 24th.

Further up Waikiki beach, folks frolic on the shoreline…

This Orchid Lei’d surfer and seal statue sits at the entrance to the wall, a.k.a. “walls”, extending out on the mauka end of Queen’s Surf Beach…

As the sun sets, folks begin to find their spot in the sand…

Surf’s Up!…

The projection system they use has very impressive resolution, looking bright, crisp and sharp with vivid, adequately-accurate colors…

My noisy photo doesn’t even do it justice, but you get the picture. You have to see it for yourself. While it’s not going to leave you wanting that over your 52″ HD Aquos set anytime soon, it’s still a very satisfying visual experience. The 30 ft. cinema screen is also quite taut and resistant to flapping around in the wind, thanks to it’s heavy-duty truss frame and beam support.

The sound system is also impressive, having wide dynamic range, with decent lows and crisp highs, low noise (not considering the traffic passing by) and discrete separation of the audio channels with a well-placed surround speaker set-up. The only nuisance is echo reflecting off the concrete hotel buildings nearby. Still, them old, over-driven, mono audio, tin can speaker boxes you used to hang on your car window at the drive-in theater ain’t got NOTHIN’ on this set-up, that’s for sure!

Yesterday’s Sunset on the Beach was the final stop for the Parade of Champions, the second time such an event has taken place in Waikiki. This year’s POC was to honor several athletic competitors: The Waipio Little League Baseball Team, who just recently won the World Series title, smashing Mexico 12-3. Beijing Olympics Gold Medalist soccer forward Natasha Kai and Gold Medalist Decathlon athlete Bryan Clay were also recognized at the event.

When I arrived, the presentation part was already finished and the Waipio little league baseball players were in a tent signing autographs for a long line of fans, while highlights from the games were shown on the big screen…

Official 2008 world series champs t-shirts were also available for sale…

Waipio – 2008 World Series Champs T-Shirts, $14 youth M & L; $15 adult S, M & L; $16 XXL

Wow, Hawaii is home to some accomplished talent in the world lately! A candidate for US President, Little League Baseball Champs, Olympic Gold Medalists, A Heisman Trophy finalist, professional golfers… REPRESENT! Congratulations to all.

According to their website, there are currently no Sunset on the Beach events scheduled for September in Waikiki. When not there, the same “Sunset” format often takes place at other parts of the island, including Waianae, Kapolei, Kalihi and Kailua.

Big mahalo to the City & County of Honolulu, all the sponsors, and the Waikiki Improvement Association for supporting Waikiki Sunset on the Beach. We’ve been attending this event regularly for years since its inception, and hope it continues for years to come!

The Tasty Island rating:

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related links:
Sunset on the Beach Waikiki Events – Official site
Sunset on the Beach – Information about ‘LOST’ premiere screenings at SOTB by Lostpedia.com
Celebrating Champions – Honolulu Star Bulletin
Waikiki Crowd Cheers Little Leaguers, Hawaii Olympians – Honolulu Advertiser

12 thoughts on “Waikiki Sunset on the Beach

  • September 3, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Well done overview of SOTB in Waikiki and the wide range of exciting activities at each event! Please also give A BIG MAHALO to TESORO HAWAII…the proud and generous presenting sponsors of SUNSET ON THE BEACH now in its second year – and they’ve just notified us that they will be doin a 3rd year, as well!!

    Support Tesoro – they do great things in the community!

  • September 3, 2008 at 5:03 am

    I love how Ba-Le and K’s Restaurant have an actual sample of each combo on display. I wonder if they do this for the tourists? It seems like a lot of work and I imagine the flies would start buzzing after a while.

    We have outdoor movies here, too, but they’re a lot more casual, with everyone bringing their own chairs and mats. We also don’t have as many food vendors at our movies.

  • September 3, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Great roundup of an event I’ve been meaning to attend…and thanks for covering more than just the food. Now I’m motivated!

  • September 3, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    We had two weeks ago in San Francisco Golden Gate Park the Outland Festival. It a Green Fest. and rock concert with six stages and 60 well known rock bands one was Tom Petty. I miss seeing Journey too many things going on. It lasted 3 days. They got foods but now living in San Francisco miss still Hawaii foods.

    Here studying at San Francisco State in media if it were not L&L here I would be very homesick. I do miss shave ice island style . Here is the Taiwan style which is not bad but not the same.

  • September 3, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Check web Saturday Farmer’s Market at Kapiolani Community College in About.Com. They got lot foods and sells of vegetables, and fruits from farms. Also flowers and plants and foods products. About.com got photos to check it out. It every Saturdays and it great fun for family like a festival every weekend there with entertainments too.

  • September 3, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Been there and they got different restaurants cook up breakfasts and other things there. Those white tablecloth restaurants. Foods from KCC students and cooking shows too. I like their bakegoods and sauages from well known companies for sales too. It on every Saturdays.

  • September 4, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Last time I was in Honolulu, went to the farmer’s market at KCC they had beignets fresh made. In San Francisco there are few places but price too high. KCC farmer’s market price was good deal. Hope next time there they might have Croque Monsieur it a big rage now in the States. Heard it now more booths because it so popular now.

  • September 4, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Great writeup about the SOTB. I’ve never been to one – too afraid of the crowds and parking. But the ones in the other neighborhoods should be less crowded, no? (although prolly less food vendors)

  • September 4, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Man! I miss a lot things lately. Been busy help my mom in mooncake making. Since Sun Chong Yuein closed mom like to make her own . I told her to start own business but she just smile at me. I’ll try to go those festivals next time.

  • September 5, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Now THAT looks like so much fun!!! Sure wish I could participate… Love the photo of Diamond Head…

  • March 17, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I love the movie on the beach. I also like to get some great food at Good to Grill while i am on that side of Waikiki. They have some of the best barbecue in Honolulu!


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