Polynesian Fire Luau is a family-friendly Myrtle Beach must see! Learn about the Myrtle Beach dinner show in our Polynesian Fire Luau review.
For more help planning your trip to the Grand Strand, check out all of our Myrtle Beach posts.
Update: Polynesian Fire Luau is back for the 2020 season.
For Pete’s birthday this year, I really wanted to do something different. Every year, on his actual birthday, I get him a pizza for dinner and this year was no different. But the day before his birthday, we went to the Polynesian Fire Luau & Fire Show in Myrtle Beach.
I didn’t really know what to expect, to be honest. I kept telling Pete we were going to a luau, but what that actually meant was lost on me.
Why Polynesian Fire Luau Is A Myrtle Beach Must-See
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The Polynesian Fire Luau ended up being a great time, and definitely something you should check out if you’re vacationing in Myrtle Beach this summer. Yes, summer.
The Polynesian Fire Luau’s operating hours are Monday through Sunday from June until August at St. John’s Inn (6803 N Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC), Monday through Wednesday, then Friday and Saturday, in September, and Monday and Friday in October and November. The calendar shows just Monday after that through October 2023, but I’m sure that will change.
We decided to go on a Tuesday at St. John’s Inn because a set date was easiest for us to plan around. It also meant we were able to get our tickets from TripAdvisor’s booking website (called Viator). That part was so easy. I picked the date, added two tickets to my cart, and checked out. TripAdvisor sent me a voucher with my reservation, which I printed and brought with me to the venue. I didn’t actually need it. My name was on the list one of the performers had to check us in, then another list to help us find our seats.
The roughly 200 person venue did have assigned seats, which made sense. We went just the two of us, but there were also large groups of over 10 at the show. So it’s a lot easiest for them to seat you at the tables rather than letting people scramble.
Once you walk inside, you get lei’d (so, of course, I had to tell Pete that he got lei’d for his birthday). You’re brought to your seats and then you get to serve yourself a buffet dinner, which is included in your $50 ticket price.
I kept asking Pete if he was excited to eat Polynesian food, but I’m not actually sure how authentic it was. The majority of the performers are from the same Samoan family, so *they* are authentic, but I don’t know if the pasta salad is really a Samoan delicacy or just something that is easy for St. John’s Inn to cook in bulk.
The Polynesian Meat Balls were my favorite. And the mixed veggies were excellent. Pete really liked the Grilled Grouper. It had a glaze on top that hardened that he really enjoyed.
The rest of the Polynesian Fire menu was pretty good. There was Kalua Pork and dinner rolls (so Pete made himself a pulled pork sandwich), the rice pilaf was pretty tasty, and the fruit was delicious. I can’t even remember how many slices of kiwi I ate.
The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the barbecue chicken (because it tasted more like a pork to me), so I made Pete eat mine.
While we were eating, three of the performers played guitar, ukulele, and drums. They played and sang traditional songs, and then pop favorites like Magic’s Rude and an Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World medley.
When dinner was done, the show began.
And what a show!
The show is put on by six main performers: Malakai Lavata’i, his son Seanoa Lavata’i (who was born on the island of Tutuila in American Samoa), Dallin Keil and his wife Estefani, Pua, and Keisha. There is a sister related to the Lavata’i brothers, her husband, and another brother who are involved with Polynesian Fire Productions, although I’m not sure exactly in what capacity. The performers can vary by show, but these were who we saw perform.
But let’s focus on the six main performers from our show.
Through dancing, chants, and performances, the cast took the audience through many of the Polynesian territories: Tahiti, New Zealand, Hawaii, and, of course, Samoa.
Seanoa was the MC and was absolutely hysterical. He joked the entire time, educating us about the Polynesian culture while we laughed. He was really, really funny — and great at describing what was happening on stage.
Seanoa, Pua, and Dallin did the heavy lifting — literally — sometimes using sticks when emulating warriors. The women — Estefani and Keisha — danced traditional dances, including the hula. They rotated, so there was a performance by the men, then the women, then back to the men, making it very balanced.
The dancing and chanting were really eye catching. And Seanoa’s jokes between it all kept the audience’s attention the entire tire.
At one point, Seanoa asked all the men to come on stage. Of course, with a little encouragement, Pete ended up on stage. The men were then taught a traditional battle stance and chant.
I was smiling and taking photos of Pete having a good time. I think all the women were enjoying it from the safety of their seats.
When the men came back to their seats, the MC then asked all the women to come on stage. I sunk a little in my seat and tried to avoid eye contact with the performers, trying to not get pulled on to stage.
It didn’t work.
So there I was, up on stage, learning how to dance the hula. It was a little embarrassing to be shaking my hips up on stage, but what’s life without a few uncomfortable moments that turn into good memories?
Ask Keith from Atlanta. See, after the women were on stage shaking their moneymakers, Keith from Atlanta — who had just a bit earlier been enjoying himself in the back of the room — came out on stage in a coconut bra and grass skirt. And, with the help of one of the female cast members, he learned to do the hula in front of the entire audience, including his daughter and her cell phone camera.
He was a great sport about it, and it was a great way to really involve the crowd.
Then, it was time to go outdoors.
We were worried it would be a bit of a cluster to get the 200 audience members outside. It was so easy because the doors are behind the stage on both sides (where the audience has been staring the entire time). You go out the doors and thats’s where the Polynesian fire knife show starts.
Now, when I was reading about the show online and saw fire knife, I imagined that it would actually be knives. We got outside, though, to find that it was a fire club.
It’s not poi, either, if you’re familiar with that. I actually learned how to do poi once upon a time. Okay, scratch that. I actually attempted to learn how to do poi once upon a time — and was terrible at it. I didn’t do it with fire because that really would have been a disaster because I kept hitting myself with the balls on the end of the stick. And really, setting myself on fire isn’t on my bucket list.
So this isn’t poi and it isn’t knives. It’s a Samoan warrior club, which was used before the Samoan warriors had been introduced to metals. Spinning, throwing, and catching these displayed a warrior’s courage.
And at the Luau, we watched two courageous warriors do the same — while the fire knife was on fire.
The buffet started at 6 pm and the show ended around 8:30 pm, which is a bit before sunset this time of year. It was amazing to see the fire spinning, but I can only imagine how incredible it is later in the season when it starts to get darker sooner. I wonder if the performers will switch to poi then, though, because that’s a little safer in the dark.
When I mentioned we got the last two tickets to the sold out Polynesian Fire Luau & Fire Show, one of our Facebook friends Melissa was surprised that the show was charging. She said she had seen it at various hotels up and down the Myrtle Beach strip for free. That was just the show, though, not the buffet as well. She mentioned that it was advertised that way on her most recent trip to Myrtle Beach.
So, while we did enjoy the buffet, and the performers deserve all the money they earn from the show, but if you’re on a budget vacation, check for the signs Melissa was mentioning.
And, a second small aside: This show is affiliated with the Polynesian Fire Daytona Beach location. I haven’t been to that one, though, so I’m not sure how they compare. It is *not* affiliated with Sharkey’s Luau, Myrtle Beach. I haven’t been to that one yet, so I’m not sure how it compares either.
Polynesian Fire Luau: Frequently Asked Questions
St. John’s Inn (6803 N Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC)
Monday through Sunday from June 2022 until August.
Monday through Wednesday, then Friday and Saturday, in September.
And Monday and Friday in October and November.
Tickets are $59.99 for adults ($69.99 for premium seating) and $29.99 for children ages 3 to 12 ($39.99 for premium seating). Kids under 2 are free.
You can purchase tickets via the Viator website or through Groupon.
More Things To Do In Myrtle Beach:
If you’re planning a trip to Myrtle Beach, we have some other posts to help you plan your trip:
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Travel Guide
- 15+ Family-Friendly Things To Do At Broadway At The Beach In Myrtle Beach, SC
- Christmas Things To Do In Myrtle Beach, SC
- 15 Reasons To Visit Myrtle Beach, SC This Summer
- Top 10 Dinner Shows In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- The Bowery: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s Oldest Music Bar
- 12 Things To Do On The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
Have you seen the Polynesian Fire Luau show? Let us know what you thought in the comments.
Wednesday 8th of August 2018
We go to Myrtle Beach every year but have not been to the Luau. This year we are going in September so I will miss this but will keep this on my list of to do's next year.
Monday 30th of July 2018
I just came back form Myrtle Beach. I wanted to go to the Luau, but time just didn't permit it this trip. I'm glad you were able to share your adventure. Your pictures are great. Thanks for sharing on Sunday's Best.
Mother of 3
Friday 27th of July 2018
That looks like a lot of fun! .
Wednesday 25th of July 2018
This looks so wonderful and entertaining.