On March 3rd, Key West’s Old Island Restoration Foundation will host the 50th anniversary of the island’s much-loved Conch Shell Blowing Contest. Entrants of all ages and musical abilities are invited to come and try their hand at this historic and entertaining feat, also called the “Conch Honk.”
The conch shell has been an important part of Key West’s heritage for hundreds of years. South Florida’s early indigenous people, the Calusa Indians, were known to have used the giant shell to communicate over long distances. Over time, sailors and early Key West citizens adopted the conch as a primitive fog and signal horn, while conch recipes continued to evolve into the menu favorites we now see at restaurants island-wide. Natives to Key West are of course commonly referred to as “conchs” and the island takes much pride in its renowned 1982 succession from the United States, after which its status as a micro-nation was established and re-named as The Conch Republic.
Participation in the Conch Shell Blowing Contest is a treasured part of Key West History — all interested parties are invited to come to The Oldest House, located at 322 Duval Street at 12:00 noon and show off their conch-blowing skills! For more information, call 305.294.9501.