In Key West summer events are a time when locals come together for some of our best celebrations. Whether it’s fishing, art or just an excuse to party, those Key West summer events add a lot to who we are as a community. Even though the “snowbirds” have migrated back north to their first homes and tourism begins to wind down following a busy winter season, Conchs of all kinds are just getting started.
Summer gets an early start in Key West with the Annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration. This tradition goes back to Spring 1982. The federal government had set up a blockade on US1, the only road into the Keys, which made Keys residents feel like foreigners in their own country. Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow wasn’t having it and with a big crowd of independent-minded locals declared their secession from the United States. While this was an unofficial act that was quickly reversed, they made their statement and federal policy on the Florida Keys was changed forever.
To mark the occasion, every year organizations and locals across Key West get together to mark the events of that early Summer standoff (albeit with a few exaggerations). Schooner races, parades, regattas, and a full naval-aerial sea battle “reenactment” including stunt flyers and Coast Guard ships take place to delight the whole city.
Shortly after that, we welcome the Key West Songwriters Festival, a local favorite. This is one of the biggest Key West summer events of them all with thousands in attendance and a universal appeal. Touted as “the largest festival of its kind in the world,” it hosts influential personalities behind the most popular songs of today and yesteryear alike. For five days and nights dozens of artists like Jake Owen, Robert Earl Keen and Natalie Hemby entertain us with their songs and stories of how they came to be. Shows play at every location imaginable across Key West both day and night.
For locals who like fishing and the long game, the Key West Fishing Tournament is an almost 7-month long endeavor where pros and amateurs come to tackle over 40 species of fish throughout the nearby Gulf and Atlantic waters (pun intended). Divisions for every gender and age group encourage fishermen and fisherwomen at all experience levels to cast off and explore Key West’s finest natural resource in search of sport, excitement and a great fishing story.
There’s no doubt that Key West is a major tourist destination, but when the visitors have gone home and things seem to quiet down, they’re really only getting started. If you’re dreaming of taking up the mantle of “Key West local”, or eventually the coveted nickname for 7-year citizens, “Saltwater Conch”, you can start your search right here. The most up-to-date home listings via MLS can be found on my homepage at RogerEmmons.com. And if you’re interested in a personal showing of any Key West properties, just fill out a brief inquiry form or call me directly at 305-292-2244 ext. 105.