2017 looks set to be yet another upbeat year in Key West with an enticing line-up of events, from food and wine festivals to high-speed powerboat racing.
Most weekends will be packed with festivals and celebrations that underpin the diverse and colorful culture of the Keys, with its rich history, artistic flair, fresh cuisine and quirky ambience. Visitors will be spoiled for choice with entertainment on offer for all ages, whether its outdoor adventure you’re looking for or live music to dance along to. Here are the highlights of events not to be missed in Key West throughout 2017:
A foodie’s paradise
With an abundance of fish and seafood surrounding the Keys coupled with a host of talented chefs in the area, foodies will be in their element at food-focused events including the Annual Florida Keys Seafood Festival (Jan. 14 – 15) and the Key West Food & Wine Festival (Jan. 25 – 29). In summer, the island’s signature dessert is celebrated during the Key Lime Pie Festival (July 1 – 4) which brings in pie-eating and cooking contests, Key Lime rum sampling, and a Key Lime martini ‘Sip and Stroll’ event.
At the end of summer, the Annual Key West Brewfest (Aug. 31 – Sept. 4) will quench your thirst with over 150 beers and micro-beers on tap.
Something for art and literature lovers
Join one of the smartest and most high-spirited literary gatherings at the Key West Literary Seminar (Jan. 12 – 15) which welcomes readers and writers to explore a unique literary theme each year. Following the seminar, the Writers’ Workshop Program takes place from Jan. 16 – 20.
In February, Key West’s historic Old Town is transformed into an open-air gallery with creative offerings from around 100 artists on display at the Old Island Days Art Festival (Feb. 25 – 26).
One of the island’s most celebrated literary legends, Ernest Hemingway, has a festival dedicated to his life in July (18 – 23) when Hemingway Days takes place across Key West with literary readings, competitions, a fishing tournament and even a look-alike contest to entertain visitors. Later in the year, sit back and enjoy the Annual Key West Film Festival (November 15 – 19) which features screenings and special events hosted at landmark venues throughout Key West.
Watch a world-class competition featuring elite racing yacht crews from around the world during the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week (Jan. 15 – 20). If paddleboarding is more your style, head to the Key West Paddleboard Classic (April 27 – 30) and take part in challenges including a 4-mile open race.
The Key West World Championships Powerboat Races is an unmissable event in November (5 – 12) which sees fierce competition between leading American and international racing teams. Ticket options include an all-inclusive VIP spectator package for the Truman Waterfront grandstands.
Take a tour
Key West is home to a range of beautiful homes and gardens, many of which open their doors throughout the year to invite visitors around for a tour. Go behind the scenes of magnificent Victorian mansions and 19th-century cottages during the Annual Key West House & Garden Tours (Jan. 13 – 14, Feb. 17 – 18, March 17 – 18).
Get ready to dance!
Music has an important place in Key West with many bars and theaters staging live music and upbeat shows. One not to be missed in 2017 is Conch Republic (The Musical) which takes to the stage at the Key West Fringe Theater from April 20 – 23. The Key West Songwriters’ Festival is another firm favorite on the calendar, this year taking place from May 10 – 14 with live music performances across the island.
Dress up and party
Join the 10-day Conch Republic Independence Celebration from April 21 – 30 with events ranging from a quirky bed race to a light-hearted sea battle. Then there’s Key West Pride to look forward to in June (7 – 11) when the whole island throws a five-day celebration featuring daytime beach and pool parties, a street fair, pageants and water-based activities including kayaking and boat tours.
In September, REvolution LGBT Art, Food, Wine and Cultural Festival (7 – 11) will bring together local vendors, artists, entertainment, contests and plenty of excellent wine and food to celebrate the LGBT community.
Later in October, the island will embrace its biggest and most outrageous party of the year – Fantasy Fest (20 – 29) – which welcomes visitors from all over the world to dress up lavishly and take part in flamboyant masquerade competitions. The 2017 theme is Time Travel Unravels.
For further information on events taking place in Key West during 2017, visit our Calendar page.