June has arrived in Key West, and the island is abuzz with anticipation for the 2021 Pride festivities. However, for Florida Keys & Key West residents, pride in the compassionate LGBTQ community and its allies isn’t only apparent during a single event held each June. Instead, it’s a year-round state of mind.
As Key West prepares to celebrate its June 2-6 Pride festivities, what does Pride — or the concept of pride — mean to island residents? An acknowledgement of life's beautiful diversity, a reminder to use the past to build a better future, and joy for the Key West community’s caring nature are among the answers provided.
Renowned for its “One Human Family” philosophy of unity and equality, Key West will welcome visitors to its annual Pride festivities Wednesday through Sunday, June 2-6. Presented by the Key West Business Guild, events will showcase the diversity and enticing atmosphere that make the southernmost city a top vacation destination for LGBTQ visitors.
Fans and friends of the Florida Keys’ Conch Republic can celebrate the irreverent “nation’s” 39th birthday with activities including a pirate adventure, traditional shrimp boil, sunset boat parade, “wearable art” fashion show, sailing excursions and a gourmet dinner and absinthe tasting. The Conch Republic Independence Celebration is scheduled Friday through Sunday, April 16-25.
In Key West’s historic Old Town, free-roaming chickens and roosters are a colorful part of daily life. Traffic stops to let hens and their babies cross the road, visitors coo and cluck as they snap photos of the meandering fowl, and the crowing of roosters provides a raucous soundtrack to everyday activities.
Fans of Key West’s Fantasy Fest can enjoy two streaming events that showcase the masking and costuming festival’s creativity and spirit — despite the cancellation of the Oct. 16-25 in-person celebration to guard against coronavirus spread. A virtual variety show and mini-parade, scheduled Oct. 16 and Oct. 24, raise money for local nonprofit organizations.
Conservation-minded divers and snorkelers can enjoy a unique underwater concert that supports reef protection Saturday, July 11, in the Florida Keys — home to the continental United States' only living coral barrier reef. The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival takes place at beautiful Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
While the Florida Keys remain temporarily closed to visitors, it’s possible to stay connected by sharing Keys memories and stories of extraordinary people. People like “Shine” Forbes — a sparring partner of legendary author and 1930s Key West resident Ernest Hemingway — who was one of the island’s most unique links to the colorful author.
Fans of the fluted, pink-lined conch shell displayed their pucker power Saturday, March 7, during Key West's quirky annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest. Participants ranging from kids to seniors to groups attempted to coax the most impressive sounds from their “instruments” — with one woman even tootling parts of melodies including Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
New Year’s Eve in the Florida Keys traditionally features balmy temperatures and a warm welcome for revelers fleeing colder spots. From beachside fireworks where overcoats and gloves aren’t allowed to wacky takeoffs on the traditional ball drop in New York’s Times Square, the island chain offers a wealth of ways to welcome 2020.