Affairs to remember – Key West Festivals
Popular Events – Annual Key West Festivals:
Conch-Republic Independence-Celebration – April23, 10-day-event.
‘Zany’ Key West celebration overcoming the “evil forces of the US Border-Patrol”. Colors-raising at Fort Taylor and victory-celebration. Loads of fun and of silly events – hotrod drag-race, tattoo-contest, ‘world’s longest’ parade, fiddler’s-contest, chili cook-off, and arts-and-crafts fairs.
PrideFest – June, 7-days-event
Presented by the Gay and Lesbian Community-Center to Key West, the first American city to openly recruit gay-tourists. Pride-Follies talent-extravaganza; Mr./Ms./Miss PrideFest contest, parties, tea-dance, and the PrideFest Parade down Duval.
Cuban-American Heritage Festival – June, Sunday-Contests noon-5pm, Free-admissions.
Jose Marti, cigar-worker Cubans’ liberator loved the Key West history-development by the Cubans. Now featuring Cuban history, photo-exhibits, story-telling, book-signings, pinatas, dominoes, and contests, lectures at Mel-Fisher Museum, wine, cigar, conch-brunch, Latin concerts, fishing-tournaments, conga-line and salsa-dancing.
Fantasy Fest – October, Some event-fees.
“Be-as-outrageous-as-possible festival”. Yacht-race, Royal Coronation Ball, Mardi-Gras Massacre, and Pet-Masquerade. Anything-goes, no-inhibitions, not-for-kids.
Goombay Celebration – October, Open 1pm-midnight F-Sa, Free-admission, Cash=Food
Bahamian-descendants continue the tradition featuring Bahamian steel-drums music-and-dance, delicious jerk-chicken and gyros, and street parade. Spread over streets, including Bahama Village.
Key West Boat-and-Holiday Parade – December, Free-admissions.
Festive floats, musical bands, zany costumes, colors, local deli, and holiday-cheer continuing throughout the day. Packed-out. Earn great parade viewing-spots.
Other Key West Festivals – Street-Fairs:
Showcasing award-winning films, digital-media and other area lectures, and creating global-cultural awareness. Also hosting birthday-parties, anniversaries, and other occasions for the movie-buff.
Key West Lighted Boat-Parade – Free procession-viewing, Some location-fees (restaurants-on-the-water)
Key West boats are crafted with whimsical, comical, traditional, or religious motifs and are awarded by the Chamber-of-Commerce.
Terra-Nova Trading-Race – Free-admissions.
Premiere Racing Corporation’s four-division race. One division competing each day. With awards for Boat of the Day and for Boat of the Week. Cheer on your favorite sails.
Old-Island Art-Festival – February, Free-admissions, Opens 10am-5pm.
Discovering some the area’s best local/regional artists. Whitehead Street closes for the event displaying for art-collectors/lovers. Showcasing Key West as ‘haven-for-artists’ – wide-array art-mediums and artistic-styles.
Pirates-in-Paradise Festival – 10-day-event, Free-admissions, Cash=food &more fun.
‘Hottest and oddest’ of the Key West festivals. Culinary delights and games, national/local acts’ on-stage-performance, art-exhibits at Custom-House and Mel-Fisher Museum sponsored by Maritime Arts and Culture, nautical excursions featuring tall-ships and sea-battles.
Florida Keys Poker Run – 3-day-race, Opens dawn-dusk
One of the Key West festivals annually raising money for youth-programs and scholarship-funds. Motorcycle-run begins in Miami and ends downtown, culminating in a Duval street-party. Riders and families gather at Sloppy Joe’s.
Old Island Restoration Foundation Benefit Ball – Opens 630pm-1am.
Another of the Key West festivals raising funds for the Old-Island Restoration-Foundation. A dress-up and party-in-style formal evening-event in glamour. Haute cuisine and orchestra-dance, silent-auction of hotel-accommodations, trips, dining-certificates, gift-baskets, original artwork, and local-artist’s fab table-decorations.
Old-Island-Days House-&-Garden Tour – Opens Sa-Su 10am-5pm, Tickets, reservations, maps.
Presenting lovely garden-courtyards and historical-residences annually. Homes chosen on their cultural-architectural-contribution – Victorian gingerbread-house or cigar-maker’s cottage reflecting unique lifestyles.
Key West Songwriters’ Fest
Musical-festival for talented pianists, vocalists and musician charts-toppers such as Lori Kelley, Drew Reid and Chris Clifton. Classic organ-trio, bass-player, and loud-drums music, dance, and applause.
Conch Shell-Blowing Contest – Free-admissions, Opens Sa 1:30-4pm
Conch-shells now draw huge crowds as it once did calling-for-help ships-in-distress. Now heralding skillful (some comical) conch-blowing musicians for fun and trophies. Own-shells or free-shells for the contestants. Local deli and souvenirs for all.
More Key West Festivals Celebrated Years Round:
Acura International Boat-Regatta – January
Red-Ribbon Bed-Race – April
Survivors Party – May
Queen-Mother Pageant – May
Hemingway-Days Festival – July
WomenFest – September
Parrot Heads in Paradise Convention (Meeting of the Minds)