On the offbeat island of Key West, even the zombies defy stereotypes. Instead of stumbling through dark wastelands in tattered clothes — as often portrayed in films and TV shows — Key West’s zombies are to hop on their bikes and pedal beside the Atlantic Ocean Sunday, Oct. 22, during the annual Zombie Bike Ride.
Visitors seeking cultural experiences to supplement the Florida Keys’ subtropical “fun and sun” lure will find arts offerings in virtually all genres. Enthusiasts can discover galleries from Key Largo to Key West, festivals that spotlight the island chain’s rich creative heritage, eclectic events that showcase the talents of local residents — and even gyotaku.
Meet the newest “Papa.” White-bearded Wisconsin man Gerrit Marshall has won the 2023 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, a highlight of Key West's Hemingway Days festivities. The retired television broadcast engineer triumphed over nearly 140 other contest entrants on his 68th birthday — just a day after the July 21 birthday of the original "Papa" Hemingway.
There’s no better way to celebrate the Florida Keys’ 200th birthday than with Key lime pie, the island chain’s luscious signature dessert — particularly if that Key lime pie is the world’s biggest! And there’s no better PLACE to celebrate the auspicious anniversary than at Big Pine Community Park, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
In the Florida Keys, it’s common for locals and savvy visitors to greet the news of some particularly offbeat happening by grinning and murmuring, “Only in the Keys.” The four-word phrase is a standard response by people hearing about everything from a costume contest for pets to mermaids attending a local music festival.
It’s not always easy to stay afloat. Especially if your vessel is made of a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood, two 8-foot-long two-by-fours, a roll of duct tape and a pound of fasteners. But staying afloat is the goal for teams in the Schooner Wharf Minimal Regatta, a Key West Memorial Day weekend tradition.
Commemorate the Florida Keys’ bicentennial with a sunset celebration on the Middle Keys’ Old Seven Mile Bridge, a gala sea-to-table dinner in Islamorada, a family-style waterfront picnic in Key Largo, and Lower Keys festivities and fireworks featuring the creation of the world’s largest Key lime pie. All activities salute the Keys’ 200th birthday.
The legacy of Florida Keys sculptor Stanley Papio, a pioneer of recycled art, is being celebrated on Earth Day 2023 with a colorful people-powered parade of recycled and repurposed artistic creations. The Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade features sculptural floats with moving parts, decorated bicycles and other mobile works of art.
If you’ve spent time in the Florida Keys, you’re aware that Keys residents are generally easygoing and friendly. But unless you want to make them cringe, don’t ever say “kontch” — because the widely-used word “conch,” despite its spelling, is properly pronounced “konk.” Especially at the upcoming birthday party for the Keys’ Conch Republic.
Celebrate the bicentennial of the subtropical Florida Keys island chain throughout 2023, starting with the “200 Years of Paradise Kick-off Concert” and dazzling drone show Saturday, March 25, in Key West. Events salute the 200th anniversary of the Florida legislature’s founding of Monroe County, which contains the entire Keys, on July 3, 1823.