Summer is rushing into the Keys with sunny days, great breezes, and a gaggle of happy visitors. Key West International Airport reported record passenger numbers this past year, and we now have jet service from Tampa on AirTran.
Around noon each day, you can see three to four 737 jets sitting on the ramp at our little airport. And for those who like to fly first class, it’s now available — although many of our smaller jets consider all their seats to be first class.
Speaking of first class, this year’s Red Ribbon Bed Race offered a “tip of the bed” to the newly wedded Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The day after the royal wedding, “Kate Middleton” ruled on Key West’s famed Duval Street — while riding on a decorated bed on wheels during the madcap annual race.
The offbeat challenge featured 15 decorated beds, each piloted up Duval by four runners while a fifth person rode on the bed.
“Kate” look-alike Lucas Czajkowski, wearing a replica of the royal bride’s blue engagement dress, sipped champagne and waved regally to cheering crowds as a quartet of brawny men with British flags painted on their bare chests and backs propelled her bed up the street.
Her royal mate Prince William, however, was nowhere to be found.
“Maybe he’s partying somewhere else in Key West,” said the pseudo Kate. “Of course, Duval Street is much more fun than the palace — but please don’t tell the queen.”
It seems like every week in Key West we’re celebrating something — and June 8-12, that “something” is pride. Actually, we recognize our pride in diversity every week of the year, but June brings special festivities known as Key West Pride.
Join us in Key West for a week of pride on a subtropical island far removed from the real world … in a community whose official motto is “One Human Family.” This year’s event celebrates our recent awards from “Amazing Gay Travel” for being the “Best City for Unity Between Gays and Straights” and sharing with San Francisco the title of “Best City for Unity Between Gays and Lesbians.”
Take a look at the upcoming events on the Key West Pride website and make your plans now. Tickets for many of the events, including a much-anticipated comedy showcase by Michele Balan and Jason Stuart, are available on the site. You can also watch an entertaining video too, and begin planning to visit us for the festivities.
I checked the cost of flying down from Tampa, Orlando, and Atlanta during our pride week and found round-trip fares starting at $200. Key West International Airport is served in the summers by American Airlines, Delta Airlines, AirTran, Continental, and Cape Air. (Speaking as one who takes a flight almost every week, I suggest booking early for the best fare and seats.)
If you’re planning to visit Gay Days in Orlando this year, look for me exhibiting in the main hall at the host Doubletree Hotel. The exhibit will be open Thursday through Sunday, and I’ll have lots of information about Key West and fun giveaways for you!