Key West has been nominated as the Sexiest Place on Earth! An esteemed panel of travel writers compiled their recommendations for the Trip Out Gay Travel Awards, and this little island earned an enviable nomination. Read about Key West here and vote.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks, both for me and here on the island. Among other things, I traveled to Miami Beach and exhibited at the National LGBT Bar Association’s Lavender Law Conference. This was a huge event with practicing attorneys and recent graduates learning how to better serve the legal needs of our community. Several came to the Keys after the conference.
Then I zipped across the country for the 20th conference of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, joining several hundred members of the media from across North America. I learned about issues facing the LGBT print media, websites, blogging, and workplace rights. It humbles me to know that we live in such an accepting community; many gays do not have this level of comfort.
Speaking of comfort, Womenfest kicked off last night with a packed house at Big Ruby’s Guesthouse. Lenore Troia, renowned for entertaining LGBT and allied audiences with her American Caribbean sound, assembled a women’s five-member band. We indulged in three hours of fun jamming with these talented ladies while enjoying food samples from more than a dozen Key West restaurants. Women (and men) attended from across the U.S., the United Kingdom and Germany.
This year’s Womenfest schedule is loaded with top entertainers including Emily Saliers of the Grammy-winning Indigo Girls, the rockers of Sister Funk, and singer/songwriter Christine Martucci. And do not miss the evening of comedy with Suzanne Westenhoefer at the historic San Carlos Institute.
Check the Womenfest website for a complete schedule. If you can’t be here this year, next year’s event will start the day after Labor Day. (The real treat is that the guys can attend most of the performances. We are truly One Human Family!)
This time of year, we try to take to the water for snorkeling and sunset sailing. The colors of the sea drift between lapis and emerald and the water is clear as gin. The Blu Q offers day trips for the guys while Venus Charters caters to the lesbian community with snorkeling, fishing, and dolphin watching. Sebago hosts a women-only sunset sail on Thursday afternoons and all-adventure days that include jet skiing and parasailing.
If you’re not into the water, stop by the gay-owned Fast Buck Freddie’s on Duval Street and lose yourself in their maze of great gifts, clothes, and toys.
We have now entered the jam-packed season leading to the crowning of the king and queen of the Fantasy Fest masking and costuming gala. The “royals” earn their crowns by raising needed money for AIDS Help, our community-based AIDS service organization, and there are events almost every day and evening. Recent years’ royal campaigns have raised as much as $400,000. Photos of the candidates and a list of events are available here.
There are still some rooms available for Fantasy Fest 2010, themed Habitat for Insanity. Check your calendar and treat yourself to a Key West escape during this outrageous weeklong party that starts October 22.
Can’t make it this year? Plan on attending next year’s event. The lavish Fantasy Fest parade is always held on the last Saturday of October, so calculate your timeframe from that.
Shortly I’ll be off to visit pride events in Saint Augustine, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta. Then I may take a much-needed vacation!
(Steve’s current American Airlines mileage ticker: 2,497,241 miles promoting Key West to the LGBT world. Divided by 450 miles per hour average, that means 5,549.4 hours in a can at 30,000 feet!)