Locals, celebrities get a taste of famous drink at annual Mai Tai Festival

  • Celebrity judges Sam Choy and Aaron Sanchez sample mai tais on the eve of the the 10th Annual Mai Tai Festival Friday evening at the Royal Kona Resort. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Huggo's bartender Billy Gienger puts the finishing touches on his entry for the 10th Annual Mai Tai Festival Saturday at the Royal Kona Resort. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Huggo’s bartender Billy Gienger puts the finishing touches on his entry for the 10th annual Mai Tai Festival on Saturday at the Royal Kona Resort. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Andrew Woodley, representing Myna Bird in Honolulu, creates his drink for the festival on Saturday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Defending champion Kevin Beary from Three Dots & A Dash in Chicago presents his drink creation at the 10th annual Mai Tai Festival on Saturday at the Royal Kona Resort. Beary took second place in this year’s contest. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Celebrity judge Aaron Sanchez tastes a drink creation at the 10th Annual Mai Tai Festival Saturday at the Royal Kona Resort. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Christopher Nevins from Maui pours his drink creation at the 10th Annual Mai Tai Festival Saturday at the Royal Kona Resort. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Michael Kelly from the Royal Kona Resort pours his drink creation at the 10th Annual Mai Tai Festival Saturday at the Royal Kona Resort. See story on page 9A. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Aaron Sanchez and Sam Choy have a few things in common. They both hold the title of celebrity chef and they both have an appreciation for a famous tropical drink: the mai tai.