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.
There’s a wonderfully meaningful celebration coming up in Key West, and everyone who values equality, openness and diversity is invited to participate. It’s the 20th “birthday” of the island’s famed 1.25-mile sea-to-sea rainbow flag, and it will be marked with a three-night laser light show during Key West Pride 2023 — scheduled June 7-11.
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.
“The Florida Keys: 200 Years of Paradise," a 60-minute television program that explores the culture and history of the island chain from the early 1800s to the present, debuts this spring on PBS channels across the United States. Meanwhile, three special events in Key West showcase aspects of the Keys’ two-century cultural heritage.
A subtropical setting and a celebration of cuisine and libations await food fanciers Jan. 25-29, when the Key West Food & Wine Festival is staged in the inviting island city. Acclaimed as one of the United States’ leading wine and cuisine events, the festival salutes Argentine flavors and vintages throughout its 2023 schedule.
From Key Largo to Key West, the calendar is packed with events designed to spread seasonal cheer — including a traditional Islamorada favorite that features actual snow. Yes, despite the Keys’ typically balmy winter temperatures, grownups and kids of all ages can delight in snow Friday, Dec. 2, during Islamorada’s Florida Keys Holiday Fest.