So you’ve reached your final Florida destination, now what? Well, hold tight because this is one Florida destination where the fun never stops! In fact, there are probably more events and festivals going on in the Florida Keys & Key West than in any other Florida destination. Here’s a quick list of fun Keys’ happenings that you won’t want to miss!
The Aquanettes: Reality Is A Drag
Key West: Prepare yourself for some amazing costumes, great music and lots of laughs when the world famous Aquanettes take to the stage. This outrageous troupe of lip-synching, wise-cracking drag queens prance, dance, shimmy and shake to the howls and hoots of a packed house. No two shows are ever the same so you never know what’s going to happen. FYI: Bring lots of dollar bills for tipping the performers — the more you tip, the more they play. Showtimes: Sun. – Weds. at 9pm; Thurs. at 7 & 9pm; Fr. & Sa. at 7, 9 &11pm. Reservations recommended. See them at Aqua Nightclub, 711 Duval St., Key West. Info: 305-294-0555; aquakeywest.com.
Mallory Square & Margarittaville Resort Sunset Celebration
Key West: Each evening, about two hours before sunset, flocks of people gather at Key West’s Mallory Square and on the pier behind the Margarittaville Resort to watch the sun slowly sink into the Gulf of Mexico and to revel in the colorful street performers, local artists, psychics and food vendors who have made Key West’s Sunset Celebration a world-famous, multicultural happening. If you’re really lucky you may even witness the rare “Green Flash.” Experience it nightly at the end of upper Duval Street. Info: 305-294-2787.
Wednesday – Saturday
The Gardens Hotel Concert Series
Key West: Key West’s Gardens Hotel is one of the most beautiful boutique hotels on the island and every Weds. through Sat. from 5 – 7pm, you can enjoy wonderful, live piano music in the Hotel’s intimate Cabaret. Full bar and stellar wines are the coup de gras. Find at 525 Angela St., Key West. Info: 305-294-2661; gardenshotel.com.
Classic Keys Movies
Islamorada: Every Thursday starting at 2pm, you can immerse yourself in classic flicks like PT 109, The Rose Tattoo, Key Largo, True Lies and other cool movies and documentaries that have been filmed in/or about the Keys at the Keys History & Discovery Center. The movies are all shown in the Center’s state-of-the-art, 35-seat movie theater with “4-K Technology” which displays four times the detail of typical high definition devices. Find it at the Florida Keys History right on the property of the Islander Resort, MM 82, Oceanside. Info: 305-922-2237; keysdiscovery.com.
Thursday – Sunday
Florida Keys History & Discovery Center
Islamorada: This engaging new attraction encapsulates what living in the “Old Keys” was really like through a series of fascinating exhibits that include the infamous Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Henry Flagler’s Railroad, the Overseas Highway, legendary anglers and fishing guides and lots more. Open Thurs. – Sun. from 10am – 5pm. Located on the property of the Islander Resort, MM 82, Oceanside. Info: 305-922-2237; keysdiscovery.com.
Every Saturday & Sunday
Big Pine Flea Market
Big Pine Key: Discover all kinds of great finds at unbeatable prices at this long-time Lower Keys Flea Market that showcases an eclectic mix of both used and new merchandise, as well as locally made soaps, tools and tarps, fishing supplies, watches and jewelry, fresh produce and special Pop-Up stores. Open from 8am – 2pm every Sat and Sun through July. Free admission and parking. Find it at 30250 Overseas Hwy, Oceanside on Big Pine Key. Info: 305-872-4103. bigpinefleamarket.com
Jazz In The Gardens
Key West: Enjoy some terrific jazz amidst lush flora and fauna during this free hang that draws Key West’s top jazz cognoscenti. Full bar and fabulous wines. Takes place from 5:30 – 8pm at the Gardens Hotel, 526 Angel St, Key West. Info: 305-294-2661; gardenshotel.com.
Islamorada: Fine arts, live music and “culinary art” are the hallmark of this festive monthly event which showcases both national and local artisans in galleries along the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District. Takes place from 6 – 9pm on Old Hwy, MM 81.5, Oceanside, Islamorada. Info: 305-393-6012.
Now – July
Randy Roberts Live!
Key West: Highly acclaimed entertainer, Randy Roberts, shines in this live, multi-media tribute to some of the world’s most beloved performers. His uncanny impersonations of Cher, Better Midler and Judy Garland are spot-on and he’ll have you rolling in the aisles when he performs a titillating strip-tease as the bawdy Gypsy Lee Rose. But nothing compares to Roberts’ own self-created character which can only be described as Ann-Margaret, Liza Minnelli and Joan Rivers all rolled into one powerhouse performer. Catch this amazing show at La Te Da’s Crystal Room Cabaret, 1125 Duval St, Key West. Tickets and info: 305-296-6706; lateda.com.
June 22 – 24
Mystery Writers Key West Fest
Key West: “Murder & Mayhem In Paradise” sets the stage for this fun weekend event that is open to published authors, aspiring authors and non-writing mystery buffs alike. Headlining the year’s speakers are John Hemingway, Clifford Irving and Randy Rawls. There will also be multiple workshops and panel events with other award-winning writers, a Ghost Tour and much more. Takes place at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort. Info: 305-587-9392; mysterywriterskeywestfest.com.
One Night Stand
Key West: This annual lighting-quick theater project develops five brand new plays from start to finish in only 24 hours. This year, audiences will have two chances to see the fun and catch the creative frenzy with performances at 7pm and 9pm. Takes place at The Studios Of Key West, 533 Eaton St. in Key West. Info: 305-296-0458; tskw.org.
June 30 – July 4
6th Annual Key Lime Festival
Key West: A crazy “Mile High”pie-eating contest, Key Lime Pie Hop, Key Lime Rum Sampling, Cooking Lessons and other tasty temptations are all on the menu for this wacky, 4th of July weekend event that kicks off with a Key Lime Sip & Stroll. Complete event schedule at keylimefestival.com.
Independence Day Fireworks
Keys-Wide: There’s lots going on all over the Keys so here’s a quick view of what’s happening: Key Largo: Celebrate Independence Day with an annual 4th of July Parade which rolls out at 10am from MM 98 – 100 and enjoy a huge fireworks display at 10pm on Blackwater Sound, MM 104, Bayside. Islamorada: An old fashioned family fun celebration starts at 6pm at Founders Park, MM 87, Bayside with fireworks at 9:30pm. Marathon: The holiday parade begins at 10:30am on Sombrero Blvd. (MM 50, Oceanside) followed by free day-long festivities at Sombrero Beach culminating with a huge fireworks display at 9pm. Big Pine & The Lower Keys: The celebration starts at 5pm at Big Pine Community Park with music, food and fun followed by a fireworks extravaganza after sunset. Key West: Fireworks light up the Atlantic starting at 9pm off the White St. Pier.
Under The Hunter’s Moon
Key West: Local playwright, Bob Bowersox stages the world premiere of his newest work during this annual multi-week “Festival of Stage Arts” produced by TheatreXP. Takes place at the Red Barn Theatre, 319 Duval St. in Key West. Info and tickets: 305-296-9911; redbarntheatre.com/tickets.
34th Annual Underwater Music Festival
Big Pine & The Lower Keys: A quirky concert broadcast underwater for divers, snorkelers and the occasional mermaid emphasizes reef preservation. The submerged songfest is held at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, approximately 5 miles south of Big Pine Key. Transportation available from local dive shops. Info: 305-872-2411; lowerkeyschamber.com.
July 12 -14
Mel Fisher Days
Key West: Headquartered at the Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West’s Historic Seaport, this annual festival brings together fans of the renowned treasure hunter Mel Fisher, as well as treasure-hunting enthusiasts from around the world, to celebrate the anniversary of Fisher’s amazing discovery of the shipwrecked Spanish Galleon, Nuestra Señora de Atocha. Participate in conservation lab tours and treasure hunting boat tours. Huge dock party & silent auction on Sat, July 14th. 100% of net proceeds go to Wesley House Family Services Info: 305-296-6533; melfisherdays.melfisher.com.
Twice Told Tales
Key West: This new play from local playwright, Bob Bowersox features 6 Directors, 12 Actors and 6 Monologues each told twice in completely different ways. Takes place at the Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton St. in Key West. Info and tickets: 305-296-9911; redbarntheatre.com/tickets.
July 17 – 22
Key West: This lively annual celebration of the legendary author’s literary prowess and colorful lifestyle features literary readings, a short story competition, fishing tournament, Papa Look-Alike Contest a street fair and the world famous “Running Of The Bulls.” Look-Alike Contest info: 305-292-8445; Literary info: 305-294-0320.
Annual Battle of the Bars
Key West: Unlikely warriors armed with margarita salt and keg taps, compete to conquer their foes with speed, skill and accuracy in this raucous annual contest that pits local bartenders and servers against one another as they drink, cajole and bribe their way to capture the coveted winning trophy. The mayhem takes place from 12:30 – 6:30pm at the Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West’s Historic Seaport. Info: 305-292-3302; schoonerwharfbar.com.
August 15 -19
Key West: This All-Male-All-Adult fever-pitched festival includes more than a dozen intriguingly decadent events ranging from drag shows to themed pool parties and gatherings at island clubs. Not for the faint-hearted! Info: 305-294-4603; tropicalheatkw.com.
OTHER FLORIDA HAPPENINGS
Downtown Car Cruise-In
Fort Myers: From classic to cool, the streets of the Historic River District in downtown Fort Myers are lined with beautiful show cars in a festive event that also includes music, food and many other venues featuring additional specials. Takes place on the fourth Sunday of each month from 12 noon to 4 pm. Free admission. Info: FortMyersRiverDistrictAlliance.com
“Climb to the Moon” at
Ponce de Leon Lighthouse
Daytona: One day each month, visitors are allowed to toast the setting sun andrising of the full moon at the top of Florida’s
tallest lighthouse. Visited by over 170,000 people each year, the Light Station was designated a National Historic Landmark in
1998. Climb 203 steps to the top of the 175’ tower and enjoy magnificent views of Daytona Beach – the ‘World’s Most Famous Beach’, Ponce Inlet and surrounding inland waterways from the lighthouse gallery deck. Find it at 4931 S. Peninsula Dr, Ponce Inlet, FL. FYI: Advance reservations a MUST! Call Karen 386.761.1821, ext. 10. Info: ponceinlet.org.
60th Annual Coke Zero
Daytona: One of NASCAR’s most anticipated events brings together NASCAR racing under the lights at the world’s only motorsports stadium, with pageantry and patriotism to make for an unforgettable July 4th weekend. This fan favorite event includes some of the most exciting racing of the season as drivers battle three-wide for a coveted DAYTONA victory. The race is followed by a spectacular fireworks display! Takes place at 7pm at the Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach. Info: 1-800-PIT-SHOP.