Whenever I reminisce with friends about
all the fun filled days and nights we spent on the Wildwood
Boardwalk one image always stands out... the coconut head (most
notably of the Aloha and Hawaiian Tropical Drinks shops). All
were owned and operated by James Konides who created a wonderful
"tiki" decor - from a ceiling laden with coconut fronds
these fascinating, one-of-a-kind souvenirs dangled. Each coconut
was hand carved and painted to reflect their own personality.
Sometimes they were decorated with feathers and beads, but always
with shells to create eyes, teeth and earrings.
The photo below comes from the George
F. Boyer Museum in Wildwood and shows the Hawaiian Tropical
Drinks once located at the Strand Theatre block.
The close-up below shows a group of
coconut heads hanging behind the neon lighted milkshake sign.
In the 60's and 70's the coconut head was a staple
Boardwalk souvenir and although they can still be found in
some shops along the boards today, they don't quite stand
up to the heads of ole. No longer will you find the menacing
natives with twisted expressions or voodoo warriors from some
dark continent. Today's coconut heads are usually pirates
or monkeys and have a mass produced quality rather than a
Shown below - coconut heads are visible
behind the neon signage.
I often wonder how many of these enchanting
souvenirs still hang in attics, garages and sheds across the
country... long forgotten and covered in dust. If you happen
to have one, I hope this page will inspire you to dig it out
and dust it off. Feel free to photograph it and send it to me
and I will add it to the coconut grove.
A special thanks to my friend Eric Princz,
who not only inspired me to create this page, but also to rummage
through my attic to retrieve my childhood coconut head.
Copyright 2007 Ralph Grassi