Womenfest Key West is in full swing this week and the island is filled with women from many corners of the world. I was part of the welcome team for the festival’s kickoff party at Big Ruby’s guesthouse. Croissants de France, Key West’s authentic French bakery and garden café, served great food as a crowd of more than 200 socialized and danced to the music of local radio personality and DJ Rude Girl.
Now in its 30th year, Womenfest always begins on the first Tuesday of September, following the U.S. holiday Labor Day. Many women come for the Labor Day weekend and stay a full week. I met women from Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and at least 44 of our 50 states.
If a week of great music, parties, comedy, snorkeling and swimming appeals to you, put Womenfest 2013 on your holiday calendar; it kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013.
After our Womenfest attendees leave, the island will prep for the 40th annual Key West Poker Run. This all-welcome event begins with a Duval Crawl Thursday, Sept. 13.
Starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14, we expect riders on about 10,000 motorcycles to travel down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway to Key West — a trek over 113 miles of highway surrounded by emerald and lapis waters, traversing 42 bridges. Rarely does one journey over a more awe-inspiring highway.
Riders draw “poker” cards at designated stopping points and those with the 10 best poker hands are eligible to play in a winner-take-all round of Texas Hold ‘Em, competing for a new Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster Iron motorcycle or $6,000 cash.
A section of lower Duval Street will be closed to car traffic so bikers with parking passes can park on the street and display their bikes. (I plan to bring my “Hardly Harley” Super 8 moped down and park it between a couple of custom “hogs.”)
Funds raised from this exuberant event benefit the charities of the Key West Sunrise Rotary Club and the Diabetes Research Institute.
Just around the corner too is Fantasy Fest’s “end of time” party, taking a lighthearted look at the ancient apocalypse prophecy stating the world will end in December 2012.
Our outrageous masking and costuming festival is set for Oct. 19-28 and themed “A-Conch-Alypse,” since native-born Key Westers are called “conchs.” It features 10 days of revelry and more than 40 masquerade balls, costume contests and parties — all leading up to the lavish twilight parade Saturday, Oct. 27.
One of Fantasy Fest’s must-attend events is the 30th annual Headdress Ball, presented by the Key West Business Guild and held Tuesday, Oct. 23. It’s themed “Salacious Unveiling: The End of Time,” and we will make time stand still as we dazzle attendees with a promenade of extravagant headdresses and a cabaret evening starring great local entertainers. Buy your tickets early, since this event is always a sell-out (there are still a few tables left, but DON’T delay!).
Meanwhile, look for me on my “bike” during the Poker Run and tune in for my next blog.