Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Holidays in Key West

The Holidays in Key West may not include snow and nights in front of the fire but they could not be more festive.  Key West embraces the holidays the way it embraces everything.....with parades, parties, fancy dress and a whole lot of its unique weirdness.

The Christmas parade is the largest Parade in Key West.  Even larger than Fantasy Fest.  Floats range from nativity scenes to shelter dogs to dancing angels and even drag queens.  Children and adults line the streets from Bayview Park down to Duval and along to Front Street.

A week later there is the lighted boat parade down by the Key West bight in front of Schooner Wharf and the Conch Republic Seafood Company.  Once the sun is down the lights go on and the cocktails flow to the distant sounds of local bands playing at one of the many waterfront bars.

A newer addition to the many festivities is the lighted bike parade.  What started as a tour of the decorated houses around the midtown area of the island has now become another parade where locals get festive and decorate their bikes parading around the town and along Duval Street.  Key West never did need much of an excuse for a parade.

Mixed amongst all this are the many parties at private homes and bars, on the Key West trolleys and Conch Tour Trains at offices or on boats.  This is a time to celebrate, just about everything and then some!

The biggest night of course is New Years Eve.  The island fills to the brim with tourists from all over the World who come to see in the New Year in a way that is unique to Key West.  As the clock strikes midnight you can either watch the wench drop in front of Schooner Wharf, see the ball drop outside Sloppy Joe's or the most famous of all......see Sushi drop in the big red shoe in front of Bourbon Street Bar.  Rumor has it that another ball will be dropping this year.  This time at the popular La te Da hotel and entertainment complex.  Duval Street is closed and revelers crawl the bars and restaurants into the early hours.  January 1st wakes up slowly in Key West.  It is the calm after the storm.  City workers clean up the island in expert fashion and by 9am it is like nothing ever happened.  The streets are quiet apart from muffled sounds of kitchen workers preparing brunch and getting ready for the many hungry survivors who will be wanting to settle their stomachs and feed their hangovers with a good hearty meal and maybe a Bloody Mary to set the balance.

After weeks of eating, drinking, celebrating and partying, the holidays are over.  A New Year has dawned and people are already breaking their resolutions and planning their vacations.  For Key West it is now the start of season so apart from a couple of days easing into things, the town is now starting to get busy.  For the locals, the holidays are done, the businesses are getting busier and bank accounts are being replenished!