Spring Events in the Florida Keys
Key West’s Conch Shell Blowing Contest – March 4 For over 50 years, this unique island tradition has proudly celebrated the historic importance of conch in the Keys. Entrants are challenged to produce melodic sounds by blowing into the shell that is renowned as a symbol of the Florida Keys, and are judged on the quality, duration and loudness of the sounds they produce. Contestants typically range from toddlers to seniors and multi-person ensembles also can participate, sometimes complementing their “conch honking” with offbeat dance numbers. The contest kicks off at noon in the gardens of the Oldest House on renowned Duval Street. For more information, visit www.oirf.org/event.php?id=10.
Islamorada Winter Fishing Classic Weekend – late Feb Anglers of all ages can compete in this family-friendly fishing tournament targeting nine offshore species. The tournament’s weight/release format promotes the Keys’ responsible use of its resources and maintenance of healthy fisheries. Target species include sailfish, barracuda, dolphin fish, cobia, wahoo, tuna, mackerel, hogfish and snapper. Competitors can enter in teams of up to six anglers and are scored on five releases of each of the eligible species per day. Winners in each age division will be awarded for the most releases on a daily and overall basis. For more information, visit www.islamoradaclassic.com.
Key Largo’s 37th Annual Garden Walk 2016 – Feb. 27 This unique self-guided tour showcases beautiful private garden properties in the Upper Keys, from a tropical paradise to a Zen garden — as well as the grounds of the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center. The event also includes a garden tea party at the historic Francis Tracy Garden Center, mile marker 94 in Tavernier. Among the party’s planned attractions are music, artisan booths, plant sales, refreshments and the Birds in Nature Art Show by the Art Guild of the Purple Isles. For more information, visit www.gardenclubupperkeys.org/gardenwalk.html.
Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration – Feb 26 to April 15 Celebrate the 106th birthday of internationally renowned playwright Tennessee Williams, his work and his life in Key West. Born March 26, 1911, Williams lived in Key West with his partner Frank Merlo and helped shape the island’s literary culture. Each year in his honour Dennis Beaver, founder and curator of the Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit, holds the Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration. Events
include Monday night screenings of Williams’ films at Key West’s Tropic Cinema, a film forum, contests for writers and artists, the opening of a permanent exhibition of Williams’ original paintings at the Custom House Museum, and a birthday reception at the Tennessee Williams Center at 513 Truman Ave. For more information, visit www.twkw.org.
Original Marathon Seafood Festival – March 11-12 As one of the Middle Keys’ signature family events, this annual tastebud-tempting festival at Marathon Community Park highlights the delicacies of the Florida Keys’ waters. Seafood lovers line up for generous plates during the “fisherman to fork” feast as local chefs showcase their talents, preparing the foods according to Keys-based recipes. Festivalgoers also can take in live music, a Keys artists’ village, unique vendor booths, events for children, sweets, treats and beverages, all adding up to a delectable weekend. For more information, visit www.marathonseafoodfestival.com.
Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Outdoor Fest – March 11-18 Enjoy four action-packed days of family-friendly outdoor adventures and hands-on activities including guided birding and nature walks, a natural history bike ride, kayak excursions, art and photography workshops, the annual Run With Deer 5K on Big Pine Key and more. The festival is co-sponsored by the Friends and Volunteers of Refuges and the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges. For more information, visit www.favorfloridakeys.org.