Incredible as it may seem, the 2019 holidays are sneaking up fast. And in the Florida Keys, they’re celebrated with festivities that range from traditional to eccentric — with, of course, a unique island twist. Throughout November and December, visitors can find events designed to jingle their bells all around the holiday-loving Keys communities.
Fantasy Fest, Key West’s internationally renowned masking and costuming festival, offers both outrageous revelry and a unique showcase for artists — illustrators who create vivid poster and T-shirt designs, body painters who use the human form as their canvas and a local talent exhibiting immersive graffiti-inspired images. There’s even a self-guided art and bar stroll.
Key West’s colorful history includes Spanish galleon shipwreck treasures and artifacts, famous artists and eccentrics, a cigar-making heyday, a vibrant past as a bustling seaport and even an eerie haunted doll. So it’s no surprise to find that cultural and historic richness preserved, spotlighted and celebrated in the island city’s many museums.
A group of unusual suspects is reportedly converging on Key West — a gang of “perps” known for penning today’s top thrillers and mystery fiction. Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 28-30, gives avid readers and aspiring writers the chance to meet and learn from superstar authors including Jeffery Deaver and Heather Graham.
Want to log a world-class, bucket-list dive experience? Then head for Key West this Memorial Day weekend for the 10-year “on-the-bottom” anniversary of the USNS Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg. Sunk May 27, 2009, it’s the world’s second-largest vessel intentionally scuttled to become an artificial reef — and the anniversary events will be unforgettable.
Creative recycling, offbeat artistry and lively “people power” combine into a spectacle that entertains spectators in Key West each May, during the lighthearted Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade. Designed to fascinate fans of earth-friendly repurposing and “outsider” art, the annual human-powered parade of colorful mobile sculptures will meander through Key West’s downtown area on Saturday, May 4.
Key West's Full Moon Experience gatherings on Higgs Beach, beside the Atlantic Ocean, are alive with music, dancing, local performers, artistry, games and enjoyment. Discover their exuberant energy, good-spirited vibe and the chance to share an evening with some of the most creative people in the Florida Keys.
Key West Theater has undergone a dramatic transformation to become a cultural hub for the southernmost island’s arts and music community — putting Key West on the radar of world-class musicians, comedians, artists and entertainers. Among the big names it has lured to perform are Bret Michaels, David Crosby, Joan Osborne and Jefferson Starship.
Key West may be the perfect springtime destination for its fabulous weather, beaches, great food and watersports. It’s also a cultural powerhouse with a vibrant and flourishing arts community. And although notable cultural happenings take place almost every week, this year we’ve set the bar even higher with an enticing lineup of springtime events.
One of the Florida Keys’ greatest assets is a lively community of visual artists. You’ll find high-quality artwork in galleries, public buildings, art fairs, outdoor markets and exhibitions from Key Largo to Key West. And this winter and spring, four extraordinary shows celebrate creations by artists ranging from Keys talents to those born in neighboring Cuba.