PRESCOTT - It wasn't exactly Waikiki Beach, but it was more fun than a beach blanket bingo party, and it made a fistful of money for two local charities - Old Firehouse Plaza's Hawaiian Luau Party by all accounts was a roaring success.
"After all the expenses, we raised $6,879 for the two charities," said Linda Forbes, who along with her husband, Robin, and a small army of volunteers, organized the beach party that happened July 17. "This is just an amazing amount of money to raise for our first time."
The Forbes, who co-own the Firehouse Plaza, divided the money equally between the Arizona Children's Burn Camp (Camp Courage) and the Prescott Fire Fighters' Charities.
"We wanted to do something different with a different theme, and we just started tossing around ideas," Forbes said, who along with her husband formed a beach committee.
Their ideas entailed Arizona Public Service and CLM Earthmovers hauling in about 150 tons of sand, closing Goodwin Street in front of the Firehouse Plaza, and laying out a mini-beach complete with a volleyball net, tiki lamps and live music.
Inside the plaza, Firehouse Kitchen chefs roasted a pig in the fashion of a Hawaiian royalty feast.
"We didn't exactly serve the pig," Forbes said. "The Firehouse Kitchen donated it to the Yavapai County Food Bank."
In fact, donations supported the entire luau that started at about 3 p.m. and ended about 10 p.m.
"It was just amazing to us how generous the local businesses were, especially in this economy," Forbes said. "Everyone wanted to contribute."
From the City of Prescott, to individuals, to Prescott's Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #3600, it seemed to Forbes and the beach committee that people went out of their way to help with the charity event.
Out of the more than 2,000 beach visitors, Forbes said that a large number of them came from Phoenix and elsewhere.
"It fit perfect with the city wanting to expand on bringing in more tourism," Forbes said. "It was like a perfect model for tourism."
Because of the luau's success, and the fact that it helped the two charities, Forbes said the committee already is figuring a date for next year's luau.
"It was a very positive experience, a lot of work, but it was worth it," Forbes said. "We are going to make this an annual luau."