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    SPAM Jam: A celebration of a Hawaiian tradition in the heart of Waikiki

    Annual Waikiki SPAM Jam
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    4 – 10 pm
    Kalakaua Avenue

    Where does iconic canned meat take center stage? Oahu, of course.

    Welcome to the vibrant festival of flavors, culture and community spirit of the (truly) one-of-a-kind Waikiki SPAM Jam.

    Located in the heart of Waikiki, this annual extravaganza transforms Waikiki's main thoroughfare of Kalakaua Avenue into a lively street fair, showcasing the unique love affair Hawaii has with this tradition-meets-trend favorite: SPAM.

    The origin of a new SPAM phenomenon

    Courtesy Waikiki SPAM JAM

    SPAM’s roots in Hawaii go back to World War II, when it was a staple for soldiers. Over the years, it has become an integral part of local cuisine, with SPAM musubi being a particularly beloved snack. 

    As for the Waikiki SPAM Jam festival, its roots stem from a simple idea during Housekeeping Week celebrations at OUTRIGGER Waikiki Beach Resort, where SPAM-and-eggs was always on the menu.

    "In 2001, Bitsy Kelley and I thought a festival celebrating SPAM would be a lot of fun and enjoyed by visitors and local residents," shares Barbara Campbell, the event's co-founder. 

    Nine months later, the first Waikiki SPAM Jam was born – turning this wartime-turned-cult-classic into a new (festival) star.

    SPAM meets top chefs

    Courtesy Waikiki SPAM JAM

    The Waikiki SPAM Jam celebrates this cultural icon with more than 25 booths, each offering their unique spin on SPAM-inspired dishes. And each year, the booths outdo themselves, turning this humble meat into culinary masterpieces that make up a smorgasbord of inventive dishes. 

    Barbara's top picks?

    The Teriyaki SPAM Katsu Sandwich from the iconic Duke’s Waikiki; Eating House 1849’s SPAM Bao Buns; and Giovanni Pastrami’s SPAM Loco Moco. 

    Barbara calls another Duke's favorite "one of the coolest, most unique dishes:"

    "Duke’s Hula Pie with sprinkled candied SPAM is 'broke da mouth' as we say in Hawaii," she says.

    The jam in SPAM Jam

    Courtesy Waikiki SPAM JAM

    The Waikiki SPAM Jam is more than just a food festival. With three large stages over Kalakaua Avenue, the festival showcases some of Hawaii's top musicians and award-winning hula halau

    There are multiple acts on each stage as you walk up and down the street. Beyond the music, you'll find local artisans with cool offerings, too. A fan favorite is always the SPAM Jam pop-up tent featuring a locally designed and printed collector's T-shirt and SPAM Mania items for purchase, like flying discs, stickers and cool SPAM tote bags. A portion of the proceeds from these items also benefits local charities.

    A festival with heart

    Courtesy Waikiki SPAM JAM

    Beyond the inventive food and lots of fun, at its core, the SPAM Jam is about giving back and making significant donations to the local Hawaii Foodbank that provides food for those in need.

    "It’s always a touching moment to hand [the Hawaii Foodbank] a big check knowing we’re helping our local residents who are hungry," Barbara shares.

    The Waikiki SPAM Jam is a celebration of Hawaii's unique culinary landscape – with lots of aloha spirit.  Check out more info and join us in the fun, taste-driven innovation and all-around good vibes. Book a stay at OUTRIGGER Waikiki Beach Resort for an easy way to stay and play!

    Spam Jam photos courtesy Waikiki SPAM JAM

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