Key West Festivals
Filed Under: Key WestKey West may be relatively small -- the island measures just over 7 square miles -- but it sure knows how to party in a big way. Locals and tourists can experience Key West's quirkiness and raging good times with a visit to one of the island's many annual festivals. Whether you'd like to attend one of the naughty events at Fantasy Fest, or seek a family-friendly celebration like the "Bight" Before Christmas holiday extravaganza, Key West's festivals won't disappoint. From drag queens dropping off roof tops to calypso street music and Hemingway lookalikes, we've picked out Key West's top 5 festivals.
3Historic Seaport with lights swathing every imaginable structure, from the Key West Ferry Terminal, to trees and shrubs and even underwater at the edge of the marina. The ongoing events include a holiday parade with floats and an appearance by Santa Claus, a tree-trimming party, a tour of local historic inns, a lighted boat parade and a holiday music concert. For a listing of event dates and times, check the festival website.
New Year's Eve in Key WestIf Christmas celebrations aren't your thing, head to Key West to ring in New Year's Eve, a generally raucous occasion with 3 unique spin-offs of New York City's Times Square midnight ball drop. On Duval Street, the island's main drag, join the thousands of people gathered in front of the iconic dive bar, Sloppy Joe's to watch the “Annual Dropping of the Conch Shell,” where an enormous man-made conch shell is lowered from the bar's roof at midnight. Should female impersonators and gay bars be more your speed, head to the New Orleans-themed Bourbon St. Pub, also on Duval Street, at midnight to see the drag queen, Sushi, in a fabulous gown, sitting inside a giant, red high-heeled shoe and lowered from the bar's roof to the street below. Finally, seafaring pirate lovers can head to the island's Historic Seaport, where a scantily-clad pirate wench is lowered from the mast of a ship when the clock strikes 12, as cannons fire and live music plays.
5Hemingway Home and Museum, open daily.