Conch Republic Days in Key West Florida
If you’re looking for a wild and crazy adventure, my friends, Key West during Conch Republic Days is the place to be.
The Conch Republic, a micronation that declared independence from the United States in 1982, is located in the Florida Keys, with Key West as its capital.
Conch Republic Days Festival
The Conch Republic Days festival is a 10-day extravaganza that celebrates the weird and wild spirit of Key West. It all began in ’82 when the Florida Keys declared themselves a separate nation after the U.S. Border Patrol set up a checkpoint on the only road into the Keys, causing traffic jams and economic chaos.
The festival is a non-stop party featuring parades, live music, and street performances. But the
highlight of the whole shebang has got to be the Great Conch Republic Drag Race, where grown men race down a 100-yard track in high heels and dresses. It’s a sight to behold and always draws a massive crowd.
Other events include a bed race, a wacky parade, a seafood festival, and the World’s Longest Parade, where over 50,000 people walk or ride floats down Duval Street. And you must remember the concerts and live music performances by local and international artists.
Visit the official Conch Republic website.
Key West Attractions
Key West is also a great place to visit year-round, with its colorful houses, quirky shops, and delicious seafood restaurants. And for you literary types, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a must-see attraction. The famous author lived there from ’31 to ’39, and visitors can take a guided tour of the property and meet Hemingway’s six-toed cats.
And remember to check out the Southernmost Point Buoy. This colorful landmark marks the southernmost point in the continental United States. It’s the perfect spot to snap photos and enjoy the ocean views.
In my latest video, “Conch Republic Days: Fear and Loathing in Key West,” I take you on a journey through the festival, starting at the ceremonial start and hitting up bars and other hot spots, including the drag races on Duval Street. This is where the true madness lies, my friends, with drag queens running in high heels like their lives, depend on it.
Samual Cornish a Key West Hero
We’ll also visit a memorial for Samuel Cornish. One of the most compelling characters in the history
of Key West.
He was a free black man who played a pivotal role in the history of Key West. Cornish and his wife were determined to enter Florida, a slave state, and start a new life.
They traveled from the North on a ship, but when they arrived in Key West, they were met with hostility and discrimination.
Despite the danger, Cornish was determined to stay in Key West and fight for his rights. He worked tirelessly to create a community of free black people on the island.
He even became one of the first black landowners in Key West. He also helped to establish the first black church on the island, the Cornish Memorial AME Zion Church, which is still in operation today.
But Cornish’s fight for freedom was not without its challenges. In 1860, his freedom papers were destroyed in a fire, and men came after him, intent on returning him to a life of slavery. In a desperate attempt to escape, Cornish slashed his hamstring and cut off his pinky finger to avoid capture. Miraculously, he survived, but the incident left him with a permanent limp.
Despite the hardships he faced, Cornish remained committed to his cause and continued to fight for the rights of black people in Key West until his death in 1880. His legacy lives on, and he is remembered as a hero and a champion of freedom.
Conch Republic Days in Key West
Whether you’re looking for an unforgettable party or a wild adventure, Key West and Conch Republic Days won’t disappoint. It’s where anything goes, and you can let your freak flag fly high. So pack your bags, grab your shades, and get ready to experience the madness that is Key West.
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