As Labor Day approaches and summer begins to fade, there are still some ways to keep the summer “fun factor” alive into the fall and winter months. Yes, you guessed it — a trip to the Florida Keys & Key West may be in order.
Womenfest’s attractions range from pool parties to late-night gatherings at Key West’s top LGBTQ clubs.
With our perennial subtropical weather and our entertaining year-round calendar of events, you can always stretch out that warmhearted summer state of mind just a bit longer.
For scores of women, early September in Key West means enjoying adventures in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico waters, plus entertainment, parties with like-minded people, and relaxation on an accepting subtropical island — all during our island city’s Womenfest.
The event is considered one of the largest gatherings of lesbians, transwomen, and their allies in North America.
The festival’s organizers, Fritzie Estimond and the Key West Business Guild, have really outdone themselves this year with an amazing lineup of “girls-only” soirees scheduled all across the island.
Activities are designed to allow singles, couples and groups of women who are 21 or older to experience the atmosphere of openness and acceptance that has made Key West an internationally acclaimed lesbian and gay vacation destination.
This year’s celebration takes place a little earlier than in past years — Sept. 1-5 — and it features some really fabulous new experiences that are certain to WOW attendees.
The action-packed Womenfest schedule kicks off with an opening night party featuring the all-female band Sister Funk from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1. The event will be hosted by Alexander’s Guesthouse, located at 1118 Fleming St. (FYI, Alexander’s is also one of the official host hotels for Womenfest and will be welcoming female guests only during the event.)
Key West’s Atlantic-front Higgs Beach is the site of Womenfest’s Ultimate Beach Bash and Cornhole Tournament. (Photo by Carol Tedesco, Florida Keys News Bureau)
On Thursday, it’s time for the ladies to hit the beach for some sun and fun at the inaugural Ultimate Beach Bash and Cornhole Tournament on Higgs Beach, located at 1000 Atlantic Blvd. Twenty spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis for a cost of $25 per person for individuals or $50 per team.
You’re not required to compete to attend, but I heard via the coconut telegraph that there will be some fabulous prizes for the first-, second- and third-place winners — so why not give it a try?
Womenfest’s on-the-water adventures (for women only; sorry guys!) will include a clothing-optional snorkel/sandbar trip aboard the Blu Q, a sunset sail aboard the gorgeous 75-foot-long SV Argo Navis luxury catamaran, and (for the land lovers) lots of over-the-top pool parties.
Revelers can also discover Key West’s land-based highlights during the festival — and increase the “mingle factor” during playful and rambunctious gatherings including a “Real Women Do Drag” competition and a flag football match for fans of high-energy sports.
On the final day of Womenfest, guests can gather for a traditional Key West Tea Dance at the beloved La Te Da. (Photo courtesy of La Te Da)
After dark, “girls that just want to have fun” can dance the night away at Key West’s top LGBTQ clubs and bars, enjoying events that will include two (yes, two) dance parties with the ever-so-talented DJs Mira and Citizen Jane.
Sunday, Sept. 5, revelers can enjoy a gala drag brunch featuring special guest appearances at Mangoes, 700 Duval St., followed by the time-honored Key West Tea Dance at La Te Da , 1125 Duval St. Then, for those that just don’t want the fun to end, there will be a “Final Dance” party at the recently renovated Sidebar, 504 Angela St. (I just can’t stop talking about the new sound system and bigger dance floor; they’re amazing!)
B.T.W., if you’re looking for accommodations during Womenfest, please note some lodgings have blocked online reservations for the special event, and a phone call or email may be needed to secure room availability.
So in the words of Fritzie Estimond, “Come on down to Key West and kick-off Labor Day weekend with the HOTTEST party for ALL women in the Florida Keys — there is something for everyone!”
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