FLORIDA KEYS — Some 250 drones are to illuminate the sky above Key West’s Truman Waterfront Park Saturday, March 25, in a dazzling “fireworks” display capping the opening event of the Florida Keys’ multimonth bicentennial celebration.
The visual extravaganza is to be a highlight of the “200 Years of Paradise Kick-off Concert,” a free-admission evening of live music and Keys heritage presentations set for 6 p.m. at Key West’s Coffee Butler Amphitheater at 21 E. Quay Road in the park.
The concert and drone show celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Florida Territorial Legislature’s founding of Monroe County, which contains the entire Florida Keys, on July 3, 1823. From Key Largo to Key West, events in the coming months are to commemorate the bicentennial and the Keys’ two centuries of dynamic and colorful history.
The drone display is to light up the sky with extensive visual imagery drawn from that history, with elements representing the Keys and their bicentennial.
Plans call for the March 25 festivities to open with a performance by popular local musician Nick Norman. After welcome remarks by Monroe County Mayor Craig Cates, regional trop-rock sensation Howard Livingston is to entertain attendees with signature melodies inspired by the island chain.
Also to be featured are commentary by local leaders and segments from South Florida PBS’ documentary, “The Florida Keys: 200 Years of Paradise,” a riveting chronicle of the region’s history from its settlement in the early 1800s to the present day.
The concert and drone “fireworks” are among a series of bicentennial events that visitors and residents can enjoy around the Keys.
Subsequent offerings include Naval Air Station Key West’s Southernmost Air Spectacular, an April 15-16 weekend air show starring the famed Blue Angels and honoring two centuries of the U.S. Navy’s presence in Key West.
Foodies can savor a 200th anniversary sea-to-table dinner set for Saturday, June 10, in Islamorada spotlighting the island chain’s local chefs, fishing captains, artists and coral restoration initiatives.
Festivities and traditional fireworks are scheduled in the Lower Keys Monday, July 3 — Bicentennial Day itself — with plans calling for the event to include the creation of the world’s largest Key lime pie.
In addition, 2023 museum exhibits, art showcases and festivals around the Keys are themed to celebrate the island chain’s historic anniversary and vibrant heritage.
Bicentennial celebration information: fla-keys.com/keys200
Regional trop-rock sensation Howard Livingston is to entertain attendees with signature melodies inspired by the island chain. Photo by Rob O'Neal. Photo by Rob O'Neal.
The evening program will include segments from South Florida PBS’ documentary, “The Florida Keys: 200 Years of Paradise,” a riveting chronicle of the region’s history from its settlement in the early 1800s to the present day.