Weâre feeling grateful in the Florida Keys these days â grateful that Isaac brushed past us as a tropical storm, having very little impact, and grateful that our world is back to normal (or whatever passes for normal along the happily eccentric island chain) after the storm.
For us, September brings warm weather, sunny skies and lots of lively events like those listed here. So why not escape from your ânormalâ life and head for the Keys for a few days?
Florida Keys Museum and Attractions Weekend, through Sept. 3 around the Keys. The family-friendly event provides free or value-added admission passes to 13 participating museums and attractions. They include the Florida Keys History of Diving Museum in Islamorada, Crane Point Museum & Nature Center and Pigeon Key in Marathon âŠ and the Harry S. Truman Little White House, Key West Aquarium and many more in the southernmost city. To print out a free weekend pass, click here.
Key West BrewFest, Aug. 30 through Sept. 3 in Key West. Â More than 150 beers and ales, including unique microbrews, are on tap at Key West BrewFest. They include intriguingly named offerings like Monk in the Trunk, Holy Mackerel and White UFO â plus local favorites like Key West Sunset Ale. Beer dinners, a seminar with âbrew guruâ Jim Brady, the highlight BrewFest Tasting Festival, food and music round out the Labor Day weekend activities. Presented by the Southernmost Hotel Collection and the Key West Sunrise Rotary Club, the festivities benefit the clubâs charitable efforts.
Womenfest Key West, Sept. 4-9 in Key West. A hot entertainment lineup and a warm welcome await attendees at Womenfest, a celebration for lesbians and their friends in the island city known for its all-embracing diversity. Featured attractions include a standup comedy showcase, performances by well-known musicians and bands, women-only water-sports excursions, pool parties, a golf scramble and sizzling late-night dance parties.
Lionfish Derby for Divers, Sept. 8 in Key Largo waters. Teams of up to four divers can compete for up to $3,300 in cash and prizes for helping remove invasive lionfish from area waters. The Upper Keys derby is held at Coconuts Restaurant in Key Largo. Early registration fee is $100 ($120 after Sept. 5), and divers can participate from their own private vessel or join a professional dive operator’s charter.
Phil Petersonâs 40th Annual Key West Poker Run, Sept. 13-16 throughout the Keys. Itâs an All-American event as motorcycle enthusiasts from around the U.S. travel the scenic Overseas Highway â designated Floridaâs only All-American Road â over 42 bridges and breathtaking expanses of open water. Poker Run participants ride from mainland Florida to Key West to raise money for charity.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Morada Way Third Thursday Art Walk, Sept. 20 in Islamorada. A free monthly showcase of fine art, live music and culinary nuances spotlights several art galleries and eateries between mile markers 81 and 82. The exuberant art walk is presented by the Morada Way Arts & Culture District.
Conch Life Scramble, Sept. 22 in Islamorada. In this wacky on-the-water golf tournament, “sinking a putt” takes on a whole new meaning. Four-person teams enjoy a game of nine holes by boat (really!), with proceeds benefiting Florida Keys charities.
Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival, Sept. 25-30 in Marathon. People of all ages can get real-life tips for becoming better birders, outdoor enthusiasts and nature photographers. Hands-on activities, guided beach hikes, self-guided kayak tours and an Environmental Fair at Curry Hammock State Park highlight the annual outdoor event.
Remember, the events here are far from the only ones set for September 2012. For the full monthâs happenings, check out the official Florida Keys & Key West calendar of events â and start planning your trip!