Events in the Florida Keys
The grandaddy of all events takes in Key West, and is called Fantasy Fest. Nothing is more eagerly awaited than the opening of Fantasy Fest each October. This Halloween celebration combines elements of Mardi Gras and the Miami club scene, resulting in a wild party filled with costumes, parades, and rum runners (Captain Morgan sponsors). Parades of brightly-bedecked revelers flow down Duval and Whitehead Streets while other celebrants toss beads from balconies. You’ll have to make reservations far in advance for this party.
The Pirates in Paradise Festival takes over Key West’s historic seaport and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park & Beach and celebrates the official end of the hurricane season. Spanning November & December, this melee of pirate ships and buccaneers culminates in the Fort Taylor Pirate Feast & Shipwreck Ball. Other events include a pirate market, maritime art exhibits, a writer’s workshop, historic re-enactments, and more.
The Island Jubilee, also in November, is an arts & crafts festival in Key Largo’s Harry Harris Park. Live musical and theatrical performances.
The Key West Literary Seminartakes place each January, and features panels, readings, and literary parties (this is Key West, after all!). There’s a theme each year, and the participants are respected members of their fields. Past themes were Travel Writing and Biography. They also sponser a Writer’s Walk, which is a guided tour of famous literary sites in Key West. It’s about a one-mile walk.
Other annual events include the Birding & Wildlife Festival in October, Florida Keys Jazz and Blues Festival (in April on Plantation Key, and in October on Islamorada), and the Florida Keys Heritage Festival in January. Marathon even sponsors a Florida Keys Renaissance Faire on Sombrero Beach in January. Don’t miss the daily Sunset Celebrations held at Mallory Square in Key West.
Key West also sponsors the Hemingway Days Festival in July. In the spirit of the Ernest Hemingway that Key West knew and loved, there are arm-wrestling contests, costume parties, and short-story competitions. Of course there’s the Papa look-alike contest, where white-bearded man over a certain age show up and do their best to look Hemingway-like. The costume parties encourage people to dress up as Hemingway charaters…Key Westers love to dress up!
- 3/31/2016 Fascinating Facts About Our Cool History: ""Preserving Key West's Unique Architecture"
Presented by Historic Markers , Inc. and the Florida Humanities Council, this speaker series are free to the public. Staged at the Eco Discovery Center, Truman Waterfront, 6 p.m. Architect Bert Bender shares the restoration of Custom House with a video, "Preserving Paradise," and tells of the importance of Key West's unique architecture.
- 4/2/2016 Seventh Annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival & Waterfront Craft Show
Presented by Florida-based Mote Marine Laboratory, the annual event features a kids' fishing seminar, touch tanks and live animals, educational activities, a planned art auction, marine-themed games, refreshments, food and local vendors. The show is set to take place at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center on the Truman Waterfront, and celebrates the treasured Keys waters and environment.
- 4/2/2016 Keystock Music Festival: Huey Lewis & The News
Crowds are expected to gather at Truman Waterfront for an evening musical event that in the past has hosted Grand Funk Railroad, Doobie Brothers and Three Dog Night. No coolers or lawn chairs day of show. VIP tickets can be purchased through Lazy Lakes by calling 305-745-1079. General admission tickets available for purchase <a href="http://www.homesforusvets.com./events.php?id=17">online</a>.
- 4/2/2016 - 4/3/2016 Naval Air Station Key West 2016 Southernmost Air Spectacular
The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team Blue Angels and other military and civilian aerial performances will fill the skies at this free-admission, family friendly event. In addition to the Blue Angels, aerial demonstrations by military and civilian performers, and static military and vintage aircraft are planned.
- 4/2/2016 Ben Harrison Concert at The Studios of Key West
Known for his wonderful sense of the ridiculous, Ben's songs explore the unique history and ribald character of Key West. From Conch Train to Sloppy Joe's Bar 1984, Ben brings delightfully absurd tales to life. He will be highlighting new material from his latest album, Destino, plus many old favorites. Join Ben Harrison with friends and talented fellow musicians, Larry Baeder and Joe Dallas. Tickets are $30, or $25 with a Studios membership. The Studios of Key West is located at 533 Eaton Stree
- 4/3/2016 BayJam 22
This music and art festival features local and guest artists performing on the shores of Florida Bay at the ICE Amphitheater at Founders Park, mile marker 87 on U.S. 1. Attendees can savor the sounds from midday through sunset and into the night from the hammock-like performance center set against the aqua waters of Florida Bay.
- 4/3/2016 - 4/4/2016 Red Barn Theatre presents: I Love Ethel, The Story of Vivian Vance
A staged reading of an exciting new play with music. The world knows Vivian Vance as Ethel Mertz from the iconic TV show "I Love Lucy" that also starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. But there was so much more in the life of this very talented and complex woman.
- 4/3/2016 Monthly Artisan Market: Ocean Awareness
The Key West Artisan Market is a vibrant, open air bazaar filled with artists, authors, chef-made cuisine, craftspeople, performers, fresh produce, baked goods, cheeses and flowers, craft beer & wine from residents representing the diversity of creativity, ingenuity and locally made products of the Keys & Key West. Held one Sunday each month, during season (thru April) outdoors at the Restaurant Store, 1111 Eaton. Free family & pet friendly event.
- 4/8/2016 - 4/10/2016 Key West Fishing Tournament Kickoff
Fifteen target species and $5,000 in cash prizes await anglers participating in the Key West Fishing Tournament's Kickoff 2016. Participants are to vie for cash awards for catching the heaviest dolphin, kingfish, cobia, blackfin tuna, mackerel, mutton snapper, wahoo, mangrove snapper and grunt. In addition, cash awaits boat teams that score the most releases of tarpon, permit, bonefish, barracuda, marlin and sailfish. Awards also are presented each year in the junior division for anglers under a
- 4/8/2016 - 6/7/2016 Key West Art & Historical Society presents: Roberta Marks
"Roberta Marks: a Retrospective," a cohesive exhibition of nearly thirty years of her mixed media work, is to be on display at the Custom House Museum. Marks, whose work has won many awards and is widely collected and featured at numerous museums and galleries throughout the country, creates mixed media pieces via photographs, paintings, collages and constructions that investigate the mystery of being. Her constructions, fabricated using found, bought or gifted objects and materials, are portray