For those planning a summer vacation, the upcoming VacationFest expo is an opportunity to get informed about exotic travel locations around the world.
VacationFest includes live music, cultural entertainment and demonstrations by cruise lines and travel agents. It is scheduled to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 4th, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St., Santa Monica. Admission is $3.
This is the eighth year of the expo, which is produced by TravelStore.
About 20 cruise lines, from river lines such as Uniworld and Viking to deluxe cruise providers such as Crystal, Regent and Silversea, will have a presence at VacationFest.
Tour operators and custom package arrangers representing travel to Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America, the South Pacific and North America will be present. These include luxury travel companies such as Abercrombie & Kent and Tauck Tours, adventure travel companies such as G.A.P. Adventures, resorts like the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons, as well as Apple Vacations, Pleasant Holidays and Globus Tours.
A number of smaller companies in the show that specialize in specific destinations include Tour Tech for travel to Costa Rica; Art du Voyage for travel to France; South Star and Eco Adventures for travel to South America; Globotours for travel to Asia; and Troy Tours for travel to Turkey.
“Honeymoon experts,” tourist boards and airline officials will also be present at VacationFest, organizers say. TravelStore’s staff will be on hand to assist with travel plans.
This year Holland America will bring one of its Alaska motor coaches to the event. It’s dubbed the Moose Mobile and travelers can experience the types of coaches used for touring in Alaska and learn more about the Alaska tour programs.
Each year VacationFest includes a travel drawing (free with paid admission) that includes several trip getaways. Among featured prizes at this year’s event are trips to Canada, including the Via Rail journey in Silver and Blue Class between Vancouver and Calgary, or six nights of accommodations at the Fairmont Banff Springs, Chateau Lake Louise and Jasper Park Lodge.
Two trips to Hawaii will be given away, including one with a stay at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Maui, and another combining deluxe hotels on Oahu and Maui with car rental included. In addition, the drawing will include a trip to Canc™n with airfare and hotel, and a six-night trip with stops in Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti.
TIKIFEST — A special feature of VacationFest will be TikiFest, a portion of the expo dedicated to Polynesian culture, Polynesian travel and the interest in tiki style that sprang up in American pop culture.
Tiki artists and carvers of tiki statues will be present at the event, demonstrating their craft to onlookers. Tiki carver Crazy Al will present ongoing Tiki carving demonstrations throughout the day.
Exhibitors, including Falling Coconuts, the Hawaiian Art House, Tiki Tony and Adrift Clothing, will display art, sculptures and vintage Tiki items.
MARTINI KINGS — Tiki lounge act The Martini Kings will perform live at VacationFest.
The Los Angeles cocktail lounge band will play an exotic combination of retro classics, jazzy standards, bossa novas and instrumentals from the 1940s to the 1960s “with a swingin’ instrumental feel.”
The band’s repertoire includes songs by Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, Chet Baker, Etta James and a list of others.
Members of the Martini Kings are seasoned players who’ve recorded, toured and played with legendary musicians, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dr. John, Roger Daltrey, Marianne Faithful, Etta James, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ann Margaret, Cher, Love Jones and Matthew Sweet.
In addition, the group has been called on to appear in and score television programs, films and commercials.
For the third consecutive year, The Martini Kings were chosen to play at the Academy Awards pre-show event at The Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
Group members have appeared on The Jay Leno Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, Conan O’Brien, Six Feet Under, MTV and many more.
The core of The Martini Kings consists of vibes, (the centerpiece of our style), along with acoustic bass and drums. On some occasions, the group also adds guitar and saxophone.
Other groups performing at VacationFest include The Mantra Group, a group of Thai dancers, and a troupe of Tahitian dancers.
Information, (310) 575-5540.