The free-spirited island of Key West may be famed for its lively celebrations and balmy year-round subtropical weather — but in August the mercury really begins to rise. Well, not the ACTUAL temperatures, since in the summer months they hover in the high 80s or low 90s (with cooling tropical breezes, of course).

Blu Q Key West excursion

Tropical Heat’s on-the-water cruises take passengers into a pristine realm of natural beauty. (Photo courtesy of Blu Q)

The real reason for the “Island Fever” is our annual Tropical Heat festival, which will entertain revelers this year with a sizzling long weekend of all-male adult events Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 15-19.

Tropical Heat features decadent diversions on both land and sea. The roster includes clothing-optional themed pool parties, snorkel and sandbar cruises, appearances by adult entertainers and late-night gatherings at the island’s LGBTQ bars and nightclubs. (The standard dress code for much of the festivities is, let’s say, “less is more.”)

The atmosphere begins to heat up at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, with an official kick-off party at the Island House Resort, 1129 Fleming St. (followed by an optional power nap, which is a must for this 40-plus person!). Then at 10 p.m., you can get your glow on at the Neon Paint Party held at Mangoes, 700 Duval St.

Partygoers can then cool down Thursday by making a splash at a skinny-dip-friendly afternoon pool party at the Equator Resort, 822 Fleming St. By the way, the Equator recently added new lounge chairs and outdoor furniture, and the resort looks fabulous. Plus it now has a full liquor license and tiki bar with libations for purchase.

Then as the sun sets, Key West’s nightlife heats up with the annual blackout party at 10 p.m. at Saloon One, 504 Petronia St. My helpful hint for this venue is, if you don’t own a pair of night goggles (doesn’t everyone?), then a glow stick might come in handy —because they do take the word “blackout” quite literally.

Friday will feature an afternoon pool party at the rear of Bourbon St. Pub, 724 Duval St., and evening soirees including a Village People — Traffic Light dating party at Alexander’s Guesthouse, 1118 Fleming St., and a Glow Party at the Side Bar, 504 Angela St.

Key West Guesthouse

Pool parties and late-night soirees head the schedule during the decadent Tropical Heat. (Photo by Mike Freas, Florida Keys News Bureau)

Saturday at 7 p.m., the Equator Resort will host its 13th annual Toga Party with contests including “Best Toga” and the chance to win some very hot prizes. Not only is this one of my favorite “gay-therings,” but also I get to use some of my old sheets to create a stylish toga or two. Then I get a post-event bonus of being able to purchase some new bedding.

The sultry event continues Sunday with a noontime pool party at Island House, and Key West’s trendy 4 p.m. Tea Dance at La Te Da, 1125 Duval St. Local DJ and radio host extraordinaire Rude Girl will be spinning the latest hits during the delicious dance affair.

Closing events include dance parties at clubs in the “Pink Triangle,” an area of LGBTQ bars, entertainment clubs, and shops around the 700 block of the renowned Duval Street.

While you’re in the “gayborhood,” don’t forget to take a selfie alongside our rainbow crosswalks. The City of Key West installed the four permanent rainbow crosswalks at the corners of Duval and Petronia streets in May 2015.

For those of you planning on attending Tropical Heat, all-access VIP passes are available for $99 per person — or you can pay individual cover charges for specific events. Want more information on the festival’s hot happenings? Check out the details here.

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