The 4th annual Spam Jam festival was held
on Kalakaua Avenue on April 29, 2006. This year’s event
will take place on April 28.
The event is one of the largest tributes to Spam in the world.
Last year, eight local businesses helped to sponsor the event.
The event was a fundraiser for the Hawai‘i Food Bank which
receives a portion of the proceeds.
Spam may seem like a humble food, but in Hawai‘i it is
sometimes called the “Hawaiian steak.” The canned
luncheon meat is a popular staple. From loco moco’s to
musubi, Spam is a popular island food. Hawai‘i consumes
6.7 million cans of spam yearly. This is more than any other
state in the U.S.
Kalakaua Avenue was closed to traffic between Lewers Street and
Royal Hawaiian Avenue. Stages for live entertainment were set
up at each end of the event at the cross streets. Entertainers
included Grammy-Award nominee Riatea Helm, Keahiwai, BET, and
Miss Hawai‘i 1995, and Tracy Taguchi. KUCD-FM alternative
and sister station KDNN-FM Hawaiian hosted the event and provided
DJs as emcees for it.
Hawai‘i is the only place that would shut down a street
for spam.” Said Maleko, a DJ for KUCD.
Guests from hotels along Kalakaua participated in the activities.
Some of them had no idea that Hawai‘i paid such a tribute
to the canned meat.
I would rather keep Spam a memory,” said one visitor, on
vacation from California, who wanted to remain anonymous. “It’s
been a long time,” he added reminiscing about his childhood.
Spam wasn’t the only food served at the event. Garlic shrimp,
local plate lunches, and other island favorites were also available.
The street was lined with tents from eight different restaurants,
each offering a unique dish made from Spam, including Spam tacos
to Spam Gau Gee. Participating restaurants included Canoes at
the Ilikai, Sam Choy’s Restaurant, Dave & Busters,
Shanghai Bistro, K’s Restaurant, Coconut Willy’s,Three
Star Catering, and Time 2 Grind.
I like Spam hot and spicy with scrambled eggs and rice,” said
Kealoha Arelliano, a volunteer for the event.
The variety of Spam would please any Spam lover, but not all
the spectators were fond of Spam.
I don’t eat processed meat,” said Jacqueline Hanson,
28, a bartender at the Aloha Lounge in the Outrigger Reef hotel. “I
don’t like Spam.”
The Spam Jam also included a variety of vendors selling Spam
merchandise. Spam lovers could find nearly anything made of Spam,
from t-shirts to slippers. And there were other vendors selling
non-Spam goods such as airbrush tattoos and colorful glass icicles.
Sassy magazine sold vivid flower pens and hemp chokers and bracelets.
Every year Spam Jam seeks two enthusiastic Spam lovers to be
Mr. and Mrs. Spam Hawai‘i. Contestants must profess their
passion for the canned meat in a 200-word essay, include a photo,
and send it, with one or more cans of Spam, to Clear Channel
Communications, which crowns the winners at the event. Prizes
include $1,000 cash, and a year’s supply of Spam.
In the U.S. alone, 3.8 cans of Spam “are consumed
every second”(assuming SPAM is eaten 24 hours
Hawai‘i eats an average of four cans of SPAM
per person per year, more than in any other place on
· SPAM is sold in over 99% of U.S. grocery stores.
· Over 60 million people in the U.S. eat SPAM.
· Over 141 million cans of SPAM are sold worldwide each year.
For more Spam Facts go to http://www.cusd.claremont.edu/.