Polynesian dresses were the order of the day as Chicago area Rockabilly types welcomed fall with the First Annual Fong Fest - a tiki fest featuring food, vendors, bands . . . and no palm trees anywhere.
Bands, with names like The Hot Rod Huxters, The Concussions, The Dyes and The Neandrathals, graced the main stage wearing crazy get-ups from rubber skeleton masks to fur caveman outfits. Chicago's mayor of Rockabilly, Mr. Ken Mottet, emceed the two-day long event.
Luckily, the temps had dropped to a respectable mid-70s, so the fur-wearers weren't sweating. It wasn't until 9 pm that the skies opened and guests rushed under the canopies or inside the restaurant to keep from washing away.
Tiki vendors sold home decor and vintage clothing.
My husband, Milt, inside the Chef.
We enjoyed the company of John and Tina (my friend and fellow blogger at Retro Fashion is My Passion).
Go go dancers, a group named The Janes, entertained the crowd with choreographed group routines and outfit changes.
Our hosts and the organizers of the event, Coalby and Dave, are good friends to North Riverside, Illinois, Chef Shangrila. "The Chef", as it is affectionately called, opened in 1975. Its owners have decorated it head to toe in traditional Polynesian decor with lots of bamboo, tiki heads, and a koi pond.
Rockabilly bands are frequent guests at the Chef, playing on select weekend nights. For this fest, the Chef served up Hawaiian tacos, fried rice, spring rolls, and mini-bbq sandwiches with sweet potato fries. Tropical drinks, including their famous Dr. Fong, were in ready supply. A few vintage rides were also on display.
We are glad they are restarting this festive event - it gives us a good excuse to break out our floral shirts and shell necklaces.
Thanks for the first Fong Fest, Chef Shangrila! For more info on this fabulous Chicago-area restaurant, go to: www.chefshangrila.com.