FLORIDA KEYS -- The Florida Keys & Key West provide year-round entertainment for visitors, from festivals focusing on the area's colorful history, artistic culture and eccentric ambiance to events celebrating the Keys underwater paradise and culinary offerings.
While this calendar lists selected highlights for 2015, a full schedule of events throughout the Keys can be found at fla-keys.com/calendarofevents.
Jan. 3: Orange Bowl Swim Classic. Key Largo. Some of the best college swimmers in the country, and perhaps future Olympians, compete each year at Jacobs Aquatic Center, mile marker (MM) 99.6 oceanside, in a free-to-attend event that is part of the celebration surrounding the annual Orange Bowl college football game in Miami. Visit www.jacobsaquaticcenter.org or call 305-453-7946.
Jan. 9-10: Florida Keys Celtic Festival. Marathon. Some of America's most celebrated Celtic musical masters are to be featured at the event held at the Marathon Community Park, MM 49. The festival will also feature Highland athletics, Celtic merchandise, food and beverage booths and children's activities. Visitwww.celticheritageproductions.com/keys.htm or call 941-625-8544.
Jan. 8-11: Key West Literary Seminar. The 2015 topic, "How the Light Gets In: Literature of the Spirit," will investigate literature's relationship to the inexplicable. The annual seminar attracts literary aficionados from around the world for readings, discussions and lectures led by some of contemporary literature's leading writers. Visit www.kwls.org or call 888-293-9291.
Jan. 8-17: Uncorked ... the Key Largo and Islamorada Food & Wine Festival. Key Largo and Islamorada. Enjoy a multisensory experience as Key Largo and Islamorada's culinary experts team up to present tasty food, wine and spirits events. Savor the flavors of the Keys in 10 days of culinary events, cooking demonstrations, themed wine dinners, food and wine pairing classes, art and wine shows, gourmet chocolate-crafting classes for kids and "A Grand Tasting" finale. Visit www.floridakeysuncorked.com or call 305-394-3736.
Jan. 9-11: Brew On the Bay. Key Largo. Presented by the Rotary Club of Key Largo, this craft beer festival includes a home brew competition and a main event featuring more than 100 craft beers from around the world, showcased in an unlimited tasting with food, music and entertainment along the waterfront at Rowell's Marina, MM 104.5 bayside. Visit www.keylargobrewonthebay.com or call 305-304-0554.
Jan. 10: No Name Race. Big Pine & the Lower Keys. Join a 5k walk and run that benefits the Domestic Abuse Shelter of the Florida Keys. The race begins at 8 a.m., covers 3.1 miles and is based at the Old Wooden Bridge Guest Cottages & Marina on Big Pine Key. Call 305-743-5452.
Jan. 12-16: Paradise Paint Out. Islamorada. This inaugural invitational plein air celebration features 25 artists creating a body of work that reflects Islamorada and the Florida Keys "in the open air." Presented by the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District, the event combines the vibrant colors of island living with talented artists from across the country. Visit www.moradaway.org/paradisepaintout.
Jan. 16-17: 55th Annual Historic House Tours. Key West. Presented by the Old Island Restoration Foundation, the house and garden tours offer a rare opportunity to see inside some of Key West's magnificent, charming and tropical residences that reflect the varied tastes and originality of their owners. Additional tours are scheduled for Feb. 13-14 and March 13-14. Visit www.oirf.org or call 305-294-9501.
Jan. 17: 32nd Annual Art Under the Oaks. Islamorada. This show in the San Pedro Church gardens, MM 89.5, features fine art and original crafts in many mediums as well as food vendors, live music and raffles from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Visit www.artundertheoaks.com or call 305-664-0888.
Jan. 17-18: 10th Annual Florida Keys Seafood Festival. Key West. This family-oriented feast features fresh local Keys seafood, drinks, marine-related crafts, youth activities and live music. The two-day event is held at Bayview Park from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5.p.m. Sunday. Visit www.fkcfa.org orwww.monroe.ifas.ufl.edu.
January 17-18: Third Annual Baygrass Bluegrass Festival. Islamorada. The annual Baygrass Bluegrass Festival is to feature several leading bluegrass bands -- both "oldgrass" and "newgrass" -- at the ICE Amphitheater, MM 87 bayside at Founders Park. Admission is a suggested donation of $10 per adult age 18 and older and free for children age 17 and under. Adult tickets are $12 at the gate. Money raised helps fund music, dance and art scholarships for local students. Visit www.baygrassbluegrass.com or call 305-587-0901.
Jan. 17-18: Big Pine Key Nautical Flea Market. Big Pine & the Lower Keys. All things nautical are to be displayed and sold at the free-admission event that also includes live music, food and beverages, and raffles. The seafaring sale takes place on the grounds of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, MM 31 oceanside, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visit www.lowerkeyschamber.com or call 305-872-2411.
Jan. 18: Key West Half Marathon and 5k Run. Key West. Recognized by Runners World magazine as one of the 10 great half-marathons of the winter season, the race follows a 13.1-mile course that includes Old Town Key West and the scenic waterfront. Visit www.keywesthalfmarathon.com or call 305-240-0727.
Jan. 18-23: Quantum Key West Race Week 2015. Key West. The annual race week challenge features world-class competition and elite racing yacht crews from around the world. Boats from 23 to 72 feet are to compete for class championships in this international regatta. Fans can book seats on spectator boats ranging from excursion catamarans to historic tall ships or view the action from land at Key West's Atlantic-front restaurants, resorts and beaches. Visit www.premiere-racing.com or call 781-639-9545.
Jan. 23-25: Winter Poker Run and Regatta 2015. Marathon. Powerboats, cars, custom bikes and aircraft are to converge at the new Hyatt Place Faro Blanco Yacht Club and Resort. Watersports entertainment is on the agenda with wakeboard pro riders and jet sports performers, along with a powerboat fun run set for Saturday. Powerboats, exotic cars and custom bikes are to be displayed for free public viewing. Visitwww.flpowerboat.com or call 954-545-1414.
Jan. 24-25: 30th Annual Key West Craft Show. Key West. Approximately 100 juried artisans and crafters gather to display their talents at this popular outdoor festival on lower Whitehead Street in historic Old Town Key West. Visit www.keywestartcenter.com or call 305-294-1243.
Jan. 24-25: Key Largo Stone Crab & Seafood Festival. Key Largo. Featuring fresh conch, local stone crab and other seafood, entertainment and fun for the entire family, the festival includes cooking demonstrations, eating and costume contests, kids' play area, arts and crafts vendors, music and more. Visitwww.keylargoseafoodfestival.com or call 305-451-4502.
Jan. 25: 21st Annual Key West Master Chefs Classic. Key West. Local restaurants vie for top honors in appetizer, entrée and dessert categories. Attendees sample the culinary treats while judges pick the winners. The show is held from 4-7 p.m. at the Westin Key West Resort & Marina pier. Event proceeds benefit the nonprofit Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens. Visit www.masterchefsclassic.com or call 305-294-9526.
Jan. 28 - Feb. 1: Key West Food and Wine Festival. Key West. Top chefs and restaurateurs display culinary creativity and the Keys' indigenous cuisine in a tasty schedule of events for food lovers. Highlights include the lively "Duval Uncorked Deconstructed," neighborhood wine strolls, food and wine pairings, intriguing seminars, an outdoor artisan wine market and a "Mile 0" grand tasting. Visit www.keywestfoodandwinefestival.com or call 800-474-4319.
Feb. 6-8: Civil War Heritage Days. Key West. Colorful Civil War re-enactments and tours of Key West's historic Civil War-era Fort Zachary Taylor highlight the journey into the island's past. Visitwww.floridastateparks.org/forttaylor/ and click "Events" or call 305-292-6850.
Feb. 7-8: 21st Annual Pigeon Key Art Festival. Marathon. More than 80 artists and craftspeople are to exhibit their work at Marathon Community Park, MM 49 oceanside, in this nationally recognized outdoor fine arts celebration. Renowned marine life artist Wyland is to create an ink painting for live auction, and other attractions include live music and food. The festival is a fundraiser for historic Pigeon Key, a tiny island where Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad workers lived in the early 1900s. Visit www.pigeonkeyartfestival.com or email@example.com.
Feb. 16-22: 31st Annual Winter Star Party. Big Pine & the Lower Keys. Approximately 600 astronomers from around the world gather to view southern constellations, comets and stars in the Lower Keys' clear night skies -- virtually the only place in the continental U.S. where they can be viewed. Lectures, programs and workshops round out the event. Visit www.scas.org.
Feb 19-22: 20th Annual Miami Boat Show Poker Run to Islamorada. Islamorada. This annual four-day event features over 100 teams that embark on an escape to the Florida Keys. Many leading powerboat manufacturers take their newest creations on display at the Miami International Boat Show to the water to attend this event, headquartered at the Postcard Inn and Marina. Free general admission is available for powerboat viewing. Visit www.flpowerboat.com or call 954-545-1414.
Feb. 21-22: Old Island Days Art Festival. Key West. The 50th annual juried outdoor fine art festival features oil paintings, watercolors, sculpture, photography and other offerings by more than 100 artists from around the United States and beyond. The event takes place on lower Whitehead Street in historic Old Town. Visit www.keywestartcenter.com/festival.html or call 304-294-1243.
Feb. 27: Garden Walk 2015. Key Largo. This unique self-guided tour showcases beautiful private garden properties in the Upper Keys. The event also includes a private garden tea party with live music, artisans, plant sales, original art, refreshments and more. Visit www.gardenclubupperkeys.org/gardenwalk.html or call 305-393-2976.
March 2-31: Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration. Key West. Events celebrate the 104th anniversary of Tennessee Williams' birth and his life in Key West. Planned highlights include screenings of films adapted from Williams' plays, a poetry contest, an artist challenge, a staged reading exploring Williams' bond with his sister Rose and a birthday reception at Key West's Tennessee Williams Center. Visitwww.twkw.org/events.html.
March 6-7: Sombrero Beach Run. Marathon. A comprehensive race format includes a 15k challenge, 10k run and 5k walk/run, all staged at Sombrero Beach, MM 50. Several hundred runners participate in the weekend event organized by the Southernmost Runners Club. A kickoff is set for Friday night with music, awards, raffles, prizes, food and entertainment. Visit www.sombrerobeachrun.com.
March 7: Conch Shell Blowing Contest. Key West. An island tradition for 53 years, this unique contest celebrates the historic importance of conch in the Keys and features contestants in several age categories attempting to make "music" with fluted conch shells. Visit www.oirf.org or call 305-294-9501.
March 7: 39th Annual Marathon House & Garden Tour. Marathon. Tour beautiful homes and extraordinary gardens in the Marathon area that reflect Keys living. Each home is to be adorned with floral arrangements created by Marathon Garden Club members. Refreshments are to be served at the Garden Club, MM 50 bayside. Visit www.marathongardenclub.org or call 305-743-4971.
March 14-15: Original Marathon Seafood Festival. Marathon. Gourmet delicacies from the waters of the Florida Keys, live music, a kids' play area and an array of vendors highlight this annual weekend event that generally attracts more than 20,000 seafood lovers and families to Marathon Community Park, MM 49 oceanside. Visit www.marathonseafoodfestival.com.
March 28: Miss Gay Southernmost USofA. Key West. The Miss Gay Southernmost USofA and Miss Gay USofA Classic are to be the first preliminary pageants to allow contestants to compete in the annual Miss Gay USofA pageant held in Dallas. The showcase of female impersonation starts with a sunset cruise where all can meet contestants, judges and sponsors. Miss Gay Southernmost USofA and Classic pageants are set for Saturday night followed by Sunday and Monday night performances. Visit www.missgaysouthernmost.com or call 305-731-6557.
March 28-29: Florida Keys Island Fest. Islamorada. The 24th annual event features music, art, food and fun. Island Fest hosts a notable art show with 100 artists and crafters, great live music and a "Taste of the Islands" competition where the best Upper Keys restaurants compete for coveted awards. Visitwww.islamoradachamber.com/events.cfm or call 305-664-4503.
April 4: Florida Keys Ocean Festival and Waterfront Craft Show. Key West. The sixth annual event features a kids' fishing seminar, touch tanks and live animals, educational activities, a planned art auction, marine-themed games, refreshments, food and local vendors. The show is set to take place at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center on the Truman Waterfront, and celebrates the treasured Keys waters and environment. Visit www.keysoceanfest.org.
April 13: Taste of Key West. Key West. Scores of area restaurants present mouthwatering samples of their cuisine to benefit AIDS Help Inc. The culinary celebration takes place at the Truman Waterfront overlooking Key West Harbor. Visit www.aidshelp.cc or call 305-296-6196.
April 17-26: 33rd Annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration. Key West. A parade dubbed the world's longest, parties, a lighthearted "sea battle," a wacky bed race, a "drag race" and more commemorate the founding of the Conch Republic April 23, 1982, in response to a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock that halted traffic in and out of the Florida Keys. Visit www.conchrepublic.com.
April 18: 34th Annual Seven Mile Bridge Run. Marathon. A field of 1,500 runners participates in this annual foot race across what is believed to be the longest segmental bridge in the world. Visit www.7mbrun.com or call 305-743-8513.
April 18: Second Annual Cow Key Channel Bridge Run. Key West. Feel like running across a bridge in the Florida Keys without waking up early or breaking a sweat? Join participants, some in zany costumes, for the world's only Zero K across one of the shortest bridges in the Keys. The event is free to watch. Visitwww.cowkeybridgerun.com.
April 19: BayJam. Islamorada. This music and art festival stars local and guest artists performing on the shores of Florida Bay at the ICE Amphitheater at Founders Park, MM 87. The 21st annual event supports youth arts and innovative arts programs in the Upper Keys. Visit www.keysice.com or call 305-395-6344.
April 30 - May 3: Key West Paddleboard Classic. Key West. Presented by Lazy Dog Adventure Tours, the challenge includes a 12-mile Elite Race around the island and a 4-mile open race. Other events include a kick-off registration party, paddleboard clinics and races for kids. Visit www.keywestpaddleboardclassic.com
May 2: Keystock Music Festival. Key West. Crowds are expected to gather at Truman Waterfront for a daylong event featuring several musical performances. Keystock is sponsored by Lazy Lakes RV Resort, Homes for Veterans Inc., Southernmost Homes, Howard Livingston and the Mile Marker 24 Band. Concert profits benefit Homes for Veterans Inc. Call 305-292-7729.
May 6-10: Key West Songwriter's Festival. Key West. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the annual showcase of musical magic features a large roster of America's foremost performing songwriters. Dozens of concerts are staged in intimate, audience-friendly, island settings. Visit www.keywestsongwritersfestival.com.
May 14-17: Kamp Key West. Key West. This second annual event is designed for LGBTA outdoor enthusiasts and adventurists who recall the fun and games of summer camp. Attractions include on-the-water subtropical island activities and games for adults. Visit www.kampkeywest.org.
May 14-17: Key Largo Original Music Festival. Key Largo. Enjoy the entertainment, food and ambiance of Key Largo. Presented by the Key Largo Merchants Association, the event features on-the-water venues, unique entertainers and local musicians. Visit www.keylargooriginalmusicfest.com or call 305-394-3736.
May 14-17: Key West Air, Land and Sea Poker Run. Key West. Fans and aficionados can join a unique motorsports event presented by the Florida Powerboat Club, drawing participants from around the United State to enjoy motoring, boating and flying fun in a subtropical paradise. Cars, boats and motorbikes can be viewed at the Poker Run Village. Visit www.flpowerboat.com/key-west-air-land-sea-poker-run.html or call 954-545-1414.
May 15-16: 13th Annual Harry S. Truman Legacy Symposium. Key West. Key West's political history is highlighted in panel discussions, a reception and tours of the Little White House where Truman spent many working vacations during his presidency. The 2015 topic is "America's Greatest Humanitarian Effort -- The Marshall Plan." Visit www.trumansymposium.com or call 305-294-9911.
May 16: Battle in the Bay Dragon Boat Festival. Marathon. The waters off pristine Sombrero Beach are to be transformed into a swift racecourse for a day of dragon boat racing with teams of paddlers moving in unison. The festival is free and open to the public. Food, beverages, merchandise and entertainment are to be available shoreside. Visit www.battleinthebaydragonboat.com or call 813-426-3544.
May 28 - June 1: Sunset Celebration Welcomes Tall Ships. Key West. Historic sailing ships join the traditional sunset celebration at Mallory Square Dock for a multiday festival of ship tours, sunset and day sails, artisans, performers, music, storytelling and more. Visit www.sunsetcelebration.org or emailTallShipsKeyWest@gmail.com.
June 10-14: Key West Pride. Key West. The festival celebrates all of Key West and honors the diversity, openness and freedom in the city that is consistently recognized as one of the world's top gay and lesbian vacation destinations. Events typically include pool and dance parties, comedy and film, a street fair, contests and pageants, a pride parade and more. Visit www.keywestpride.org.
June 13: FKCC Swim Around Key West. Key West. The officially sanctioned event is a 12.5-mile swim clockwise around the island of Key West that is open to all age groups. Individual swimmers and relay teams can compete. Visit www.fkccswimaroundkeywest.com or call 305-809-3562.
June 18-21: Africana Festival. Key West. Explore music, art, and Key West's Afro-Caribbean culture during a three-day destination retreat focusing on thought, culture and wellness. The festival is to integrate music, art and cultural tourism, exploring Afro-Caribbean culture in Key West. Visitwww.facebook.com/keywestafricanafestival.
July 3-5: 4th of July Weekend Super Boat International Offshore Race. Marathon. Super Boat International brings the tradition of July 4 offshore racing back to Marathon, where high-speed powerboats competed for years under and along the famous Seven Mile Bridge. In addition, an extensive July 4 fireworks show is to be produced off Sombrero Beach Road, MM 50. Visit www.superboat.com or call 305-296-6166.
July 3-5: Key Lime Festival. Key West. A wacky Miss Key Lime Pageant, pie-eating and cooking contests, and other tasty temptations await Key West visitors during the third annual Key Lime Festival. A Key Lime Martini and Margarita Sip and Stroll will kickoff the weekend-long event. Visit www.keylimefestival.com.
July 4: Independence Day Fireworks. Throughout the Florida Keys. Food, fun and fireworks are on tap in the Florida Keys during the July 4 holiday. Independence Day can be enjoyed all along the island chain with beachside barbecues, picnics, parades and world-class fireworks displays. For individual event details, visit fla-keys.com/calendarofevents.
July 9-12: Mel Fisher Days. Key West. Mel Fisher fans, past and present crewmembers, Fisher family members and treasure-hunting enthusiasts celebrate the anniversary of Fisher's discovery of the shipwrecked 1622 Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha. Visit www.melfisherdays.com or call 305-296-6534.
July 11: 31st Annual Underwater Music Festival. Big Pine & the Lower Keys. A quirky concert broadcast underwater for divers, snorkelers and the occasional mermaid emphasizes reef preservation. The submerged songfest is held at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Visitwww.lowerkeyschamber.com/festival.cfm or call 305-872-2411.
July 21-26: Hemingway Days. Key West. The 35th annual celebration of the legendary author's work and lifestyle features literary readings, a short story competition, marlin fishing tournament, Sloppy Joe's "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike Contest and more. Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West during the 1930s. Visitwww.sloppyjoes.com for look-alike events or www.hemingwaydays.net for all other events.
July 25: Hemingway 5k Sunset Run & Paddleboard Race. Key West. The oldest ongoing 5k run in Key West, the event is to be held at 7:30 p.m. on a flat, fast course starting at the Southernmost Point in the continental United States. The 3-mile Lazy Dog Paddleboard Race is scheduled as well. Visitwww.keywestspecialevents.com or call 305-240-0727.
Aug. 13-16: Tropical Heat. Key West. The Key West Business Guild presents this all-male celebration that typically includes pool and dance parties, on-the-water adventures and more. Visitwww.gaykeywestfl.com/calendar-of-events/.
Aug. 14-16: Second Annual Mystery Writers' Key West Fest. Key West. Fans of mystery fiction can learn how their favorite authors craft tales of murder and mayhem. Presented in part by the Mystery Writers of America, the festival features acclaimed authors sharing insights on intrigue with readers and offers aspiring writers a chance to pitch their plots to editors and e-book publishers. Visitwww.mysterywriterskeywestfest.com or email MichaelHaskins@bellsouth.net.
Aug. 15: Anything That Floats Race. Key Largo. Participants grab their oars and anything that floats to compete in this wacky, family-friendly, on-the-water race of vessels crafted from items found around the house. Visit www.keylargoanythingthatfloatsrace.com.
Aug. 20-23: Upper Keys Reef Crawl. Key Largo. See the beautiful reefs and abundant sea life of the Upper Florida Keys at sites from Key Largo to Islamorada. Attendees can enjoy fun, sun and camaraderie as they dive, snorkel, kayak and paddle the amazing reefs along the way. Other attractions include hands-on seminars by the Coral Restoration Foundation and Reef Environmental Education Foundation. Visit www.reefcrawl.com.
Sept. 3-7: Key West Brewfest. Key West. More than 150 beers and micro-brews are to be on tap at the sixth annual "tasty" event that benefits the Key West Sunrise Rotary Club of the Conch Republic. Beer tastings, seminars, food, parties, musical rhythms and the Signature Tasting Festival round out the weekend activities. Visit www.keywestbrewfest.com.
Sept. 4-6: Heroes Salute. Duck Key. Each fall Hawks Cay Resort hosts an annual Heroes Welcome program to honor military, fire and rescue, law enforcement and medical personnel. Planned attractions include an All-American barbecue, fireworks, heroes tribute and country music concert. Visitwww.hawkscay.com/heroessalute or call 877-484-9342.
Sept. 10-13: Womenfest. Key West. Thousands of singles, couples and groups of women flock to Key West each year for this renowned celebration for lesbians and their friends. Activities generally include dance parties, poolside gatherings, sailing and snorkeling, live music, comedy performances and more. Visitwww.womenfest.com.
Sept. 17-20: Phil Peterson's Key West Poker Run. Florida Keys. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the U.S. travel the Keys' scenic Overseas Highway from mainland Florida to Key West to raise money for charity. Stops are arranged throughout the Keys with a final celebration in Key West. Visit www.petersonsharley.com.
Sept. 19: Islamorada Swim for Alligator Lighthouse. Islamorada. In the event's third year, swimmers participate in an 8-mile roundtrip race from Islamorada to the Alligator Lighthouse and back. All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Pool in Islamorada, helping provide scholarship opportunities to those in need, and preserve treasured historic lighthouses on Florida's coastal waterways. Visit www.swimalligatorlight.com.
Sept. 25-26: Conch Scramble "On the Water" Charity Golf Tournament. Islamorada. This wacky on-the-water charity golf tournament brings together four-person teams to enjoy a game of nine holes by boat. Participants "drive" biodegradable golf balls toward floating greens (without any sand traps), and proceeds benefit Keys charities. Visit www.conchscramble.com/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1107009.
Oct. 8-11: Key Largo Columbus Regatta. Key Largo. Celebrating the anniversary of the discovery of America in 1492, this event focuses on boaters of all kinds with activities at waterfront entertainment hotspots like Gilbert's Resort, Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill and the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort. Saturday includes a Columbus Treasure Hunt Poker Run where boaters seek out hidden treasures from a series of clues. Visit www.flpowerboat.com or call 954-545-1414.
Oct. 8-11: Southernmost Marathon & Half Marathon. Key West. Entrants in the annual challenge follow a 26.2-mile or 13.1-mile route while enjoying views of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and historic Key West landmarks. A full weekend of events is planned around the race. Visit www.somomarathon.com.
Oct. 15-20: Key West Halloween Half Marathon and 5k Run. Key West. Competitors are encouraged to dress in their favorite costumes for this Halloween-themed running event. The half marathon and 5k are scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 18. The other event days feature parties at local restaurants and bars. Visitwww.halloweenhalfmarathon.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct. 21-25: Humphrey Bogart Film Festival. Key Largo. The festival celebrates the legendary actor's life and films on the island setting of his classic "Key Largo." Events include screenings of Bogie's classics and other memorable films, a gala ball, tours on the restored African Queen and a panel discussion with the star's son. Visit www.bogartfilmfestival.com.
Oct. 23-24: Goombay Festival. Key West. Held in the historic Bahama Village neighborhood, the family-friendly Goombay presents sights, sounds and flavors recalling Key West's Bahamian heritage. Attendees can enjoy island-style food, arts and crafts, nonstop live entertainment and dancing in the streets. Visitwww.bahamavillagegoombay.com.
Oct. 23 - Nov. 1: 36th Annual Fantasy Fest. Key West. This outrageous 10-day costuming and masking celebration features flamboyant masquerade competitions including one for pets, a headdress ball, exuberant promenades, street fairs and a grand parade on Halloween night that stars marching groups, island-style bands and lavish floats. The 2015 festival theme is "All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show." Visit www.fantasyfest.comor call 305-296-1817.
Oct. 26: Heroes and Villains 5k Run/Walk. Key West. Walk, run or fly to the finish line in this annual Key West race. Participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite superhero or villain. Prizes are awarded for the most creative, best group, scariest and funniest characters. Visit www.themeruns.com/home/heroes-and-villains-5k.
Nov. 7: Key Largo Bridge Run. Key Largo. Enjoy the sunrise where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Gulf of Mexico while racing over part of the historic 18-Mile Stretch and the Jewfish Creek Bridge at the gateway to the Keys. The race is an outreach of Key Largo Baptist Church. Visit www.keylargobridgerun.com.
Nov. 8-15: 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. The course layout provides spectators unmatched close-up views of the action. Visit www.superboat.com or call 305-296-6166.
Nov. 11-15: Key West Film Festival. Key West. This fourth annual festival features films that are chosen for their excellence in storytelling and ability to capture Key West's core values of creativity, diversity, sustainability and beauty. Films are screened at various historic and colorful Key West locations. Attractions also include social events with filmmakers, actors and film lovers. Visit www.keywestfilmfestival.com.
Nov. 27-29: ART! Key West! Key West. This annual event comprises three days of artistry throughout historic Old Town Key West, with spotlight events rotating among the island's multiple cultural districts. Highlights include live mural painting, gallery openings, performance art, theater and musical showcases. Visitwww.artskeywest.com.
Nov. 28: Big Pine & the Lower Keys Island Art Festival. Big Pine & the Lower Keys. Highlights of this holiday event include live music by local entertainers, food, exhibits and booths featuring locally produced arts and crafts. Festivities traditionally take place on the grounds of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, MM 31 oceanside. Visit www.lowerkeyschamber.com/art_fair.cfm or call 305-872-2411.
Dec. 3-20: Key West Holiday Fest. Key West. Each year a wide range of seasonal celebrations takes place throughout Key West. Events include the lighting of the Harbor Walk of Lights, tours of historic decorated inns, a holiday parade and much more. Visit www.keywestholidayfest.com.
Dec. 3-6: Hot Pink Holidays. Key West. This four-day event is full of seasonal activities as well as special retail opportunities on the island. Organized events include "flash mob shopping sprees" for gifts galore, holiday light tours, a hometown holiday parade experience and Christmas caroling. Visit www.hotpinkholidays.org.
Dec. 4: 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 mountain of snow for mitten-clad munchkins, a gift bazaar and a silent auction of ornaments decorated by local artists. Visit www.islamoradachamber.com or call 305-664-4503.
Dec. 5: Key West Triathlon. Key West. The Key West Triathlon and Expo expects to host 1,000 participants and some of the sport's best-known triathletes. TRIKW participants are to swim in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, bike along a portion of the Florida Keys' scenic Overseas Highway and run on a fast, flat course beside the Atlantic. Visit www.trikw.com.
Dec. 10-12: Grimal Grove Holiday Chocolate Festival. Big Pine Key. This weekend extravaganza features chocolate-making workshops, tastings, educational seminars on growing cacao in South Florida, activities for kids, music and a festival of lights showcasing the many rare tropical fruit trees at the grove including cacao.Visit www.growinghopeinitiative.org or call 305-923-6663.
Dec. 12: Florida Keys Holiday Boat Parades. Throughout the Florida Keys. Boats ranging from deep-sea cruisers and mega yachts to kayaks and canoes light up the waters of the Florida Keys during holiday boat parades that take place throughout the island chain. Locations typically include Key Largo's Blackwater Sound, Boot Key Harbor and Key Colony Beach in the Middle Keys, the Lower Keys and Key West's Historic Seaport. Visit fla-keys.com/calendarofevents for complete regional event details.
Dec. 31: Key West New Year's Eve Celebrations. Key West. The Southernmost City typically 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.; the lowering of a pirate wench from atop a tall ship's mast at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St.; and the "splashdown" of a huge replica Key lime wedge into a giant margarita glass at Ocean Key Resort, 0 Duval St. Visitwww.sloppyjoes.com, www.bourbonstpub.com, www.schoonerwharf.com and www.oceankey.com.
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, Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill, Señor Frijoles, Cactus Jack's, Gus's Grille at the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort and the Caribbean Club, MMs 103-104. Visitwww.keylargofireworks.com or call 305-451-4502.
Florida Keys events calendar: fla-keys.com/calendarofevents
Florida Keys visitor information: www.fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS (1-800-352-5397)
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