Nancy Powell Radlauer (email@example.com)
The fall season in the Florida Keys & Key West is known for warm weather, sunny skies and an array of events to entertain. From pillaging pirates to high-speed powerboats to eco-conscious happenings, the Florida Keys and Key West has an event to interest virtually everyone.
Oct. 4-7, Nov. 8-11: Coral Restoration Workshop. Key Largo. Become a citizen scientist! This hands-on program teaches the importance of coral health and corals’ function in marine ecosystems. Scuba-certified participants go on a working dive at the coral nursery, an orientation dive at some of the completed restoration projects and two dives to plant corals on a new restoration site. www.amoray.com 305-451-3595
Oct. 18-21: Key Largo Pirates Festival. Key Largo. Buccaneers and wenches can enjoy piratical fun including a costume contest, walk the plank event, rum tasting, booty hunt, pirate show, thieves market, underwater poker and more. www.keylargopiratesfest.com 305-394-3736
Oct. 18, Nov. 15, Dec. 20: Morada Way Arts & Cultural District: 3rd Thursday Art Walk. Islamorada. Showcasing fine arts, music and culinary nuances of the Purple Isles, this free cultural celebration features national and local artisans who are showcased in galleries at Morada Way between mile markers (MM) 81 & 82, “culinary art” and live music from 6-10 p.m. www.moradawayarts.org 305-664-9100
Oct. 19-20: Goombay Festival. Key West. Held in Key West’s historic Bahama Village neighborhood, the lively Goombay is known for its island-style food, arts & crafts, nonstop live entertainment and dancing in the streets. www.goombay-keywest.org
Oct. 19–28: 33rd Annual Fantasy Fest. Key West. This outrageous 10-day costuming and masking celebration features flamboyant costume competitions including one for pets, promenades, street fairs and grand parade that stars marching groups, island bands and lavish floats. www.fantasyfest.net 305-296-1817
Oct. 20: Underwater Pumpkin Carving. Key Largo. Divers become underwater artists as they turn pumpkins into Halloween masterpieces beneath the sea in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. www.amoray.com 305-451-3595
Nov. 4-11: Key West World Championship Powerboat Races. Key West. High-speed powerboats continue Key West’s longstanding tradition in a challenge described as the Indianapolis 500 of powerboat racing. www.superboat.com 305-296-6166
Nov. 10: Key Largo Bridge Run. Key Largo. Enjoy the sunrise where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Gulf of Mexico during the morning race over part of the historic 18-Mile Stretch and Jewfish Creek Bridge at Key Largo, gateway to the Keys. Benefits Key Largo Baptist Church. www.keylargobridgerun.com
Nov. 21 – Dec. 31: Key West “Bight” Before Christmas Holiday Celebration. Key West. The harbor walk along the Historic Seaport at the Key West Bight, stretching from Greene Street to Grinnell Street, will be festively lit from rooftops to the sea for the holiday season. Celebrate with holiday events, browse at unique island shops and galleries, and relax at waterfront restaurants and watering holes. Presented by the Key West Bight Preservation Association. www.keywestchristmas.org 305-304-2633
Nov. 24: Big Pine and the Lower Keys Island Art Festival. Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys. Highlights include live music by local entertainers, food, exhibits and booths featuring locally produced arts and crafts. Traditionally take place on the grounds of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, MM 31 oceanside. www.lowerkeyschamber.com 305-872-2411
Nov. 29 – Dec. 2: Key West Film Fest. Key West. Showcasing films that exhibit excellence in storytelling, the festival’s lineup is to feature screenings and special events hosted at landmark venues throughout Key West, including the Tropic Cinema and San Carlos Institute. The 4-day program includes 25 films from multiple genres and categories as well as social events. www.keywestfilmfestival.com 941-527-9385
Nov. 30 – Dec. 2: Christmas in the Keys. Marathon. Full of food, beverage, vendors, music and entertainment for the entire family, this Middle Keys celebration kicks off the holiday season. 3-day event is headquartered at Hawks Cay Resort, located on Duck Key. 305-289-4901
Nov. 30 – Dec. 2. ART! KEY WEST! Key West. A vibrant 3-day festival and art walk to celebrate all the arts in Key West. The schedule includes visual, performing, literary, film and musical events, performances and exhibitions. Galleries will have extended hours and exhibitions and local restaurants will offer art and culinary pairings. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Dec. 7: Florida Keys Holiday Festival. Islamorada. This extravaganza traditionally begins with a tree-lighting ceremony at Founders Park, MM 87. Other attractions typically include a holiday parade featuring Santa, a 20-ton mountain of snow for mitten-clad munchkins, a holiday gift bazaar and silent auction of ornaments decorated by local artists. www.islamoradachamber.com 305-664-4503
Dec. 8 and 15: Lighted Boat Parades. Key Largo, Middle Keys, Lower Keys and Key West. Decorated and lighted boats will cruise through Keys waters Dec. 8 at Key Largo’s Blackwater Sound and Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor, and Dec. 15 in Key West Harbor and the Lower Keys’ Pine Channel Causeway. Key Largo Holiday Boat Parade: www.keylargoboatparade.com 305-451-4502; Key West Lighted Boat Parade: www.schoonerwharf.com 305-292-3302; Boot Key Harbor Lighted Boat Parade: www.bootkeyharbor.com/christmas_parade.htm; Lower Keys Lighted Holiday Boat Parade: 305-923-5370.
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Fireworks on Blackwater Sound. Key Largo. The back bay is the setting for the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza hosted by Sundowners, Señor Frijoles, Cactus Jack’s, Gus’ Grille at the Marriott Key Largo Beach Resort and the Caribbean Club, MM 103-104. www.keylargofireworks.com 305-451-4502
Dec. 31: Key West New Year’s Eve Celebrations. Key West. The Southernmost City celebrates with a “conch shell drop” at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St.; the descent of a super-sized red high-heel shoe carrying drag queen Sushi at the Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House complex, 724 Duval St., and the descent of a pirate wench from atop a tall ship’s mast in the island city’s Historic Seaport. 305-296-2388, 305-293-9800 and 305-292-3302, respectively.
For additional events throughout the Keys: www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents/
Florida Keys visitor information: www.fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS (1-800-352-5397)