“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.
Revelers can express their creativity by donning dazzling costumes during Key West’s Fantasy Fest, set for Oct. 21-30 and themed “Cult Classics & Cartoon Chaos.” The fabulous festival features masquerade parties, costume contests, music and theater shows, themed events — and a lavish grand parade of massive motorized floats and elaborately garbed marching groups.
Shipwreck fans, treasure seekers, history buffs and those who enjoy real-life adventure tales should be in Key West Sept. 2-6. Why? To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the sinking of the Spanish treasure galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha — with members of Mel Fisher’s family and “golden crew” who discovered the wreck in 1985.
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.
Divers and snorkelers explored part of the continental United States' only living coral barrier reef recently while rocking to a unique sub-sea concert that promoted reef protection. The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival takes place annually at Looe Key Reef — one of the most spectacular areas of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
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.