When I moved to Key West 25 years ago, the summers were a quiet time when we did our renovations, took our vacations, and invited our families to visit. However, these days summer — which, believe it or not, is just around the corner — doesn’t bring a “slow season” at all.
Instead, there are special events all summer long. We still take a holiday or two and have company, but we save plenty of time to enjoy the fun things our island city offers.
For example, this coming weekend begins the 30th annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration. If you plan to visit between April 20 and April 29, be sure to review the schedule of events and take part in our over-the-top celebration of the Florida Keys’ independent, irreverent nature.
And did you know Key West has its own version of American Idol? It’s called Aqua Idol, and its current “season” benefits the Key West Business Guild. Every Tuesday we gather at the landmark Aqua from 6:30 to 8 p.m. as talented local singers battle it out on the stage.
Currently six people remain in the competition, and there are three more weeks of fun before the winner is announced. Stop in and see some fine local singing talent, throw a buck or two in the tip buckets, and support your favorite star or star-to-be!
Recently travel writer Troy Petenbrink gave a shout-out to Key West’s summer events and to our fun new summer video. “Key West is Contagious” screamed the headline of Washington DC’s MetroWeekly column “Elsewhere —Travel with a Twist.”
Check it out — you may see some friends, or even your own picture, in this short piece. Troy’s article also contains web links to Key West Pride, Tropical Heat, and Womenfest that will be useful when you plan your next visit.
Speaking of the Key West Business Guild, the organization is approaching its 35th year. From its inception, the guild’s mission was to promote Key West and its gay and allied businesses. Many local events were started by the guild and then passed to other non-profit organizations to operate and benefit from. These days, the guild produces Key West Pride, Tropical Heat, Womenfest and — for 30 years — the Fantasy Fest Headdress Ball, which will be held this year on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Recently I worked with the American Airlines public relations department and a film crew as they shot video for Key West’s Milestone video. Milestone videos are available on the AA.com website and are promoted to more than 60 million members of the Aadvantage frequent flyer program.
The Key West video showcases some favorite things to do on the island and in the other Florida Keys. Watching it encourages viewers to take a tour of writer Ernest Hemingway’s home, travel on the gay trolley tour past Pulitzer Prize winner Tennessee Williams’ home, experience deep-sea fishing offshore, visit historic Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park, and meet some friendly dolphins at Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key.