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Florida Keys New Year's Eve to Feature Lighthearted 'Drops' and Fireworks

Image 1 - Thousands of revelers gather at the Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House complex to watch Sushi arrive in the giant red shoe, signaling a new year's beginning. Image: Rob O'Neal

Thousands of revelers gather at the Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House complex to watch Sushi arrive in the giant red shoe, signaling a new year's beginning. Image: Rob O'Neal

Image 2 - At the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, plans call for a huge replica of a Key lime wedge to splash down into a larger-than-life margarita glass. Image: Steve Panariello

At the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, plans call for a huge replica of a Key lime wedge to splash down into a larger-than-life margarita glass. Image: Steve Panariello

Image 3 - Schooner Wharf Bar's original New Year's Eve tradition is the "Lowering of the Pirate Wench." Image: Rob O'Neal

Schooner Wharf Bar's original New Year's Eve tradition is the "Lowering of the Pirate Wench." Image: Rob O'Neal

FLORIDA KEYS — New Year's Eve celebrations in the Florida Keys traditionally feature balmy temperatures and a warm welcome for revelers fleeing colder climes. From beachside fireworks where overcoats and gloves aren't allowed, to wacky takeoffs on the traditional ball drop in New York's Times Square, the island chain offers visitors a wealth of warm-weather ways to welcome 2015.

As midnight approaches Wednesday, Dec. 31, thousands of people are expected to ring in the New Year on Key West's famed Duval Street by enjoying an offbeat island tradition dubbed the "Red Shoe Drop." Renowned female impersonator Sushi stars in the festivities, perched in a supersized red high heel shoe suspended high above the crowds at the Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House complex, 724 Duval St.

Just before midnight a dazzlingly gowned and coiffed Sushi, riding in the glittering shoe, is to be lowered from the balcony of the complex to the accompaniment of cheers and applause from the crowds below. Live entertainment by female impersonators and other top Keys and visiting talents adds a sophisticated spice — complemented by confetti, special lighting effects and a few surprises. VIP tickets are available to a private balcony party, but space is limited. Visit bourbonstpub.com/newyearseve.html.

Down the street at Sloppy Joe's Bar, 201 Duval St., the focus of frivolity is on a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, during the 22nd annual "Dropping of the Conch Shell." Events are emceed by a rooftop host and, as a huge clock counts down the seconds to midnight, the shell begins to descend from its supports to the flat roof of the legendary bar. Inside Sloppy Joe's, live music and a balloon drop round out the festivities. No reservations or tickets are taken, but a door charge is required to party inside the bar. Visit sloppyjoes.com.

In Key West's Historic Seaport, Schooner Wharf Bar's original New Year's Eve tradition, the "Lowering of the Pirate Wench," celebrates the island's colorful seafaring heritage. Just before midnight, a pirate wench is to begin her descent from atop the mast of the tall ship America 2.0 as cannons boom. The event includes a dove release, live music day and night, dancing and festivities at the Schooner Wharf. Visit schoonerwharf.com/specialevents.

At the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, 0 Duval St. on Key West Harbor, plans call for a huge replica of a Key lime wedge to splash down into a larger-than-life margarita glass as crowds welcome the new year on the property's Sunset Pier. VIP tickets are available that include admission to a private dining area for an abundant buffet dinner, five-hour open bar and unique entertainment by Key West Burlesque. For more information, call 305-295-7005.

Revelers in the sport fishing capital of Islamorada can welcome 2015 with midnight fireworks on the beach at the luxurious Cheeca Lodge & Spa, located at mile marker (MM) 82 oceanside. Attractions include live music, dancing on the beach and a gourmet dinner. Visit cheeca.com or call 305-517-4580.

At the head of the Keys island chain in Key Largo, a New Year's Eve fireworks extravaganza is to illuminate the sky above Blackwater Sound. The sparkling display is hosted by Sundowners, Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill, Señor Frijoles, Cactus Jack's, Gus's Grille at the Marriott Key Largo Beach Resort and the Caribbean Club, all located around MMs 103-104. Visit keylargofireworks.com.

Florida Keys events calendar:
fla-keys.com/calendarofevents/

Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or
1-800-FLA-KEYS

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Posted On: December 14, 2014

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