WOMEN! Attention!! Womenfest is just days away! Now in its 29th year, this Sept. 4-9 event is about women celebrating and enjoying each other … your life, your island.
Over the years Womenfest has grown and matured, becoming a unique event that can only be held on our island. In its early years, local and visiting women enjoyed pool parties, wet T-shirt and bikini contests. Actress Kelly McGillis made an appearance and played a bit of “loose women” flag football.
More recently, Emily Saliers of the Grammy Award-winning Indigo Girls performed, to a standing-room-only crowd, her first solo concert in more than 15 years.
This year we welcome the return of the five-member band Sister Funk. I saw the group years ago on the stage at Atlanta Pride and was amazed at their talent — so I’m thrilled that they’re returning once again to Womenfest.
Stop by the Hog’s Breath Saloon for the band’s free performances. And on Friday, Sept. 7, join Sister Funk while enjoying an all-women tea dance and tropical dinner cruise on Sunset Watersports’ catamaran. It sets sail at 5:30 p.m., and you’ll see our famous sunset and maybe catch the fabled “green flash.”
If you’re a water lover, you might try Venus Charters’ snorkeling and dolphin watching trip. The only lesbian owned and operated charter in the Keys, Venus offers personalized eco-friendly charters, dolphin trips, and unions at sea.
Up for more fast-paced water excitement? Try Barefoot Billy’s Jet Ski tour, a 27-mile adventure from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and back.
Back on land, enjoy the sounds of Corday and the Cougars at Cowboy Bill’s Honky Tonk nightly from 10 p.m.
Womenfest kicks off Sept. 4 with an opening party at Big Ruby’s Guesthouse. Enjoy an open bar and hors d’oeuvres, while mingling and mixing to the sounds of our local DJ Rude Girl in a lush tropical garden.
The following night, catch the award-winning documentary “I Stand Corrected” about music, dreams, and the journey of jazz virtuoso Jennifer Leitham — formerly known as John Leitham — and her public transition.
There’s so much more to see and do during Womenfest! Don’t miss this fun-filled festival that always begins on the first Tuesday of September, just after the U.S. Labor Day Weekend holiday (which can add a few more days to your Key West visit).
For a six-week period before Fantasy Fest, candidates host fundraising events ranging from a “chicken drop” to formal dinners. These are open to the public and provide a unique opportunity to socialize and play with locals and visitors alike.
There will be silent auctions, drag shows, pub crawls, wine and cheese socials, raffles, and other events raising much-needed money for our community-based AIDS Help organization.
The aspiring royals — males, females or drag queens — that raise the most money for AIDS Help will receive the coveted crowns. One hundred percent of the funds amassed by these energetic and enthusiastic candidates goes to client services throughout the Keys. This openhearted effort is another reason we’re glad to be part of the wonderful island of Key West.
Until next time, enjoy the rest of summer 2012!