With the excitement of the festive season over, and a lingering winter chill in the air, the Florida Keys are the perfect place to escape to warmer climes and enjoy an array of upcoming events that are set to celebrate the subtropical island chain’s culinary, artistic and offbeat heritage.
ART: The Connections Project 2019 Tour
Each year, Florida Keys resident artists and arts supporters contribute to a unique giant mosaic mural, dubbed The Connections Project, which tours the island chain. Spearheaded by the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, this year’s masterpiece is a 24-foot-long mural titled ‘A Mosaic of the Keys’ and features the work of more than 300 locals. Designed to celebrate the connection between the community and local cultural initiatives, the mural is made up of small individual canvases produced in a variety of mediums ranging from oils and watercolour to photography, collage, fabric arts and mixed media. Visitors to the Keys can view the mural at various locations on a ‘road show’ tour that continues into May. The tour began in Key Largo and is now continuing through the Keys districts of Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and finally Key West, with a reception celebrating its arrival at each display site. For more information, visit: www.keysarts.com
TASTE: Original Marathon Seafood Festival
The ever-popular Original Marathon Seafood Festival is the second largest annual event in the Florida Keys with over 20,000 attendees. Returning this year from 9-10 March, the munch-fest offers visitors the chance to taste mouth-watering delicacies including lobster tails, stone crab, fish and shrimp sourced from Keys waters. For more information, visit: www.marathonseafoodfestival.com
HERITAGE: Annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration
April sees the return of the Conch Republic Independence Celebration. Running from 19-28 April, the event commemorates the Florida Keys’ symbolic secession from the United States in the early 1980s. Now in its 37th year, the annual 10-day celebration features a roster of eccentric events including the Great Conch Republic Drag Race, the so-called ‘World’s Longest Parade’ down famed Duval Street, the light-hearted Great Sea Battle for the Conch Republic in Key West Harbour, tall ship sailing adventures on the Schooner Wolf, a pirates’ ball and the election of the republic’s ‘royal family’. For more information, visit: www.conchrepublicdayskeywest.com