For several thousand women, Key West is the place to be in early September. It’s the place to enjoy adventures in Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico waters, entertainment and parties with like-minded people, and relaxation on an accepting subtropical island — all during the island city’s annual Womenfest celebration set for Sept. 7-11.
There’s a new “Papa” Hemingway on the island where legendary author Ernest Hemingway lived for most of the 1930s. White-bearded Floridian Jon Auvil won the 2022 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, the highlight of Key West's annual Hemingway Days. And Nick Henke of St. Louis earned top honors in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition.
Fans of adventurous living and fine writing can celebrate the legacy of Ernest Hemingway July 19-24 in Key West, his home during the 1930s. Hemingway Days highlights include a world-renowned look-alike contest, the culmination of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and a marlin tournament that salutes Ernest’s passion for Florida Keys fishing.
Even in August, Key West’s breezes generally moderate the summer heat. However, there’s one summertime event that definitely raises the energy level, heat quotient and vibe of the island. Tropical Heat, coordinated by the Key West Business Guild, is a five-day event for gay men that features sizzling events on land and sea.
It’s likely to get messy in Key West on July 4 — at least for everyone who steps into the “limelight” to participate in the annual Key Lime Pie Eating Championship. Up to 25 contestants with an appetite for the Florida Keys’ luscious signature dessert will vie for top honors in the quirky challenge.
In the Florida Keys, the Fourth of July means lively hometown parades, laid-back beach parties, on-the-water fun and lots of fireworks displays. Of course, holiday happenings in the Keys often feature an offbeat twist. So there’s also a July 4 event that illustrates the region’s quirky seaside spirit (and yes, it involves mermaids).
Visitors can discover Stock Island’s seafaring heritage, culinary diversity, community and unpretentious charm June 15-19 at the annual I Love Stock Island Festival. The family-friendly Father’s Day weekend fest is to blend food and libation offerings including the enticing ShrimpStock, art strolls, “dad-focused” fun, live music, a “dive-in” poolside movie and other events.
The subtropical island of Key West will welcome revelers to its annual Pride celebrations June 1-5, with a jam-packed schedule that features several dozen Pride events. The festivities showcase the diversity and equality that help make the continental United States’ southernmost city a top vacation destination for LGBTQ visitors from around the world.
Divers and ocean enthusiasts can celebrate the 20th “sink anniversary” of the third-largest vessel ever intentionally scuttled to become an artificial reef — the retired 510-foot Navy Landing Ship Dock Spiegel Grove, which lies off Key Largo — with events May 15-17 and a contest to win a Keys trip to dive the famous wreck.
In April 1982, the Florida Keys symbolically “seceded” from the United States and were reborn as the independent Conch Republic. Today the republic is internationally acclaimed as the Keys’ irreverent alter ego — and this month, the 40th annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration commemorates the historic action with a roster of rollicking events.