Visitors to the Florida Keys always find something unique and exciting to do, especially in the summer and fall. The choices range from watching championship offshore powerboat races to enjoying culinary, musical, historical and cultural celebrations.
And for those in search of quirky, off-the-wall fun, the Keys certainly don’t disappoint. Key West even hosts an annual event celebrating chickens. Yes, chickens!
Fun-seekers should visit the Keys for these and other not-to-be-missed events.
* ChickenFest Key West: This celebration, which occurs each June, honors the vivacious, squawking Key West chicken with a variety of lighthearted events culminating in the “Poultry in Motion” parade.
* Underwater Music Festival: This unique annual concert in July is broadcast underwater for divers and snorkelers. It is held at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
* Hemingway Days: Fans of Ernest Hemingway’s literature and lifestyle commemorate the author’s July birthday each year in Key West, the island where the author lived and wrote throughout the 1930s. Events include a “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the catch-and-release Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and an offbeat “Running of the Bulls.”
* Key West Food and Wine Festival: This early August event showcases local restaurants’ special cuisine presentations, including indigenous seafood favorites.
* Fantasy Fest: This annual, 10-day party with thousands of costumed revelers is the most outrageous of all fall events in the Florida Keys. It occurs in Key West during late October and features elaborate costume competitions, promenades and street fairs, masquerade galas and a grand parade with lavish floats and eccentric marching groups.
* Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest: Divers carve pumpkins among the marine life during this annual event held off of Key Largo as part of the island’s Halloween festivities.
Some of these events occur during periods of excellent lodging values.