Key West festivals are celebrated throughout the year and provide prospective visitors to the island with just one more thing to consider when trying to decide when to go. If you love lobster, for instance, it can be a good idea to visit Key West in August when the Key West Lobsterfest is going on. Literary enthusiasts, on the other hand, might prefer Key West escapes in January, as this is when the Key West Literary Seminar is held.
Coming up with a list for the top five festivals in Key West isn’t the easiest of things, as there are numerous Key West festivals to select from. Also, since everyone has their own interests, any such list is bound to drum up some debate. Any way you slice it, however, it is hard to argue that Fantasy Fest isn’t one of the very best Key West festivals. A wild, 10-day affair, Fantasy Fest is held in October and features such events as a street fair, drag queen contests, and a hippie-themed concert. Kicking off the oft-raucous Fantasy Fest celebration is a much more family friendly event that also deserves mention among the top five festivals in Key West. Known as the Goombay Festival, this street party spans the course of two days and provides revelers with opportunities to sample ethnic food and listen to calypso-like live music.
The Christmas season is a popular time to visit Key West. Part of the reason for this is the Key West “Bight” Before Christmas. This six-week celebration begins with the lighting of the Harbor Walk of Lights on Thanksgiving eve. From there, all kinds of other seasonal events keep the fun times rolling up until one of Key West’s other main celebrations gets under way – New Year’s Eve. Among the things that mark the New Year’s Eve celebration in Key West is the dropping of a conch shell at midnight. This spin-off of New York City’s Times Square midnight ball drop takes place at the iconic Sloppy Joe’s Bar on Duval Street.
Rounding out this examination of the top five festivals in Key West is the Hemingway Days Festival. Ernest Hemingway is one of Key West’s most famous former residents, and during this July event, his legacy is celebrated with such things as a Hemingway lookalike contest, a marlin fishing tournament, and a fake Running of the Bulls. If you’re a Hemingway fan and can’t manage to visit Key West in July, you can celebrate the author and his work throughout the year at the popular Key West attraction that is the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum.