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Lighted and decorated boats of virtually all shapes and sizes are to illuminate the crystal clear waters of the Florida Keys in December, drawing visitors to local hubs to watch five boat parades and catch the Keys’ holiday spirit.
From Marathon to Key West, visitors can view the parades from the shore or excursion boats, or even become part of the festivities by decking out their own boat in dazzling lights and eye-catching seasonal decorations.
Sunday, Dec. 8, 6 p.m. (sunset)
Key Colony Beach Lighted Boat Parade (Marathon Area)
Spectators can applaud vividly lit boats in the Middle Keys at the Key Colony Beach Boat Parade. Open to all boats, the parade is set to start at the 7th Street canal and wind its way through canals on the west side of the city, ending in the canal between 11th and 12th streets. The best viewing spots include the Sadowski Causeway at mile marker (MM) 53.5 and the dock area behind city hall and the post office. An after-party with awards for captains and crews is to be held at Key Colony Inn, 700 E. Ocean Drive, with a free buffet and cash bar. Contact: 305-743-7214 or http://kcbca.org/kcbca-events/holiday-lighted-boat-parade/
Saturday, Dec. 14, 6 p.m.
Boot Key Harbor Boat Parade (Marathon)
At this Middle Keys holiday event, dinghies, mega-yachts and vessels in between are to cruise the harbor in a sparkling procession. The best viewing sites include Lazy Days South, Marathon Marina, Sombrero Dockside Lounge and Burdines Waterfront around MM 47-50. Contact: http://www.bootkeyharbor.com/christmas_parade.htm
Saturday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m.
Lower Keys Lighted Boat Parade (Lower Keys)
All boats are welcome to participate in this favorite Lower Keys holiday event sponsored by the Lower Keys Rotary Club. Santa and Mrs. Claus are expected to arrive and hand out candy to the kids. Best viewing spots include the Old Wooden Bridge Guest Cottages & Marina, No Name Key Bridge and Big Pine Community Park, all off U.S. Highway 1 at MM 31. Contact: Steve at 305-923-5370 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, Dec. 14, 8 p.m.
Schooner Wharf Bar & Galley Lighted Boat Parade (Key West)
Festively decorated kayaks, fishing craft and schooners are to glitter in Key West’s Historic Seaport during the 23rd annual Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade. The Gerald Adams Elementary School Steel Your Heart Band kicks off the festivities at 6 p.m. singing holiday favorites, followed by popular family band The Doerfels. Spectators can view the dozens of participating vessels from resorts, bars and restaurants in and around the Historic Seaport. Contact: 305-292-3302 or visit www.schoonerwharf.com
Calling all ghouls, goblins, vampires and witches! If you’re visiting Tranquility Bay Resort this week, we’ve outlined a few family-friendly Halloween activities, in and around Marathon. If you haven’t booked your stay, we still have some great last minute deals available. Take a peek and we hope you have a ghoulish time in the Florida Keys!
For Halloween happenings in the Middle Keys, venture into Crane Point’s Haunted Hammock, inhabited by ghosts, ghouls and pirates starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. The beautiful 63-acre Crane Point Hammock, located at MM 50.5 bayside in Marathon, turns into a spooky haunted habitat. Geared toward youngsters age 12 and under, the fright-filled fun is free to the public. Visit cranepoint.net or call 305-743-3900.
Gulfside Village Halloween Party
Also Oct. 31, costumed goblins and ghouls can trick or treat at Marathon’s outdoor Gulfside Village shopping plaza, 5800 Overseas Highway. The annual community Halloween party is open to the public from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with refreshments and treats for children, parents and grandparents to enjoy.
Days and nights of ghoulish delight are planned for the annual Haunting of Fort Zachary Taylor, a Civil War-era fort beside Key West’s Atlantic Ocean shore. Live remaining “shows” are set for Oct. 30-31, treating visitors to otherworldly celebrations not suitable for mere mortals. Ghost-seekers can access Fort Taylor and its surrounding state park from an entrance on Southard Street past Thomas Street. Kid’s Day entry is free with park admission. Admission to the haunting is $13 per adult, $10 for military personnel, $8 for kids and free for children under age 5. Hours are 8-11 p.m. (midnight on Halloween). Learn more at hauntedkeywestfort.com.
Staged at the Marathon Community Park, MM49, the festival features six outstanding Celtic bands, including Scottish headliner Albannach, international super group Rathkeltair, Marcille Wallis & Friends with the Tampa Bay Treblemaker Dancers, West of Galway and a special 20th reunion appearance of Celtic rock pioneers Clan na Gael.
Festival Hotel Discounts
Tranquility Bay guests can enjoy a special discount when visiting during the Florida Keys Celtic Festival. Special resort rates are available at www.tranquilitybay.com/festival.
St. Andrew’s Pipe Band of Miami is to fill the air with the sounds of bagpipes and drums; athletics and Border Collie sheep herding demonstrations along with a Children’s Glen round out the entertainment. Celtic merchandise vendors, Celtic & local food fare and beverages provide an authentic menu to please the palate.
Information and Tickets
The Florida Keys Celtic Festival is a family-friendly event; children aged 12 and under are admitted free with a paid adult. Friday hours are 4-9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; tickets start at $25 per person.
Contact: Greg McGrath 941-625-8544
Tranquility Bay Resort in Marathon, Florida will soon welcome a new addition to the current 87-unit, tropical beach resort. Beginning mid-December 2013, guests can discover the addition of 16 new luxury single-level “Tropical Garden Guestrooms” which offer more intimate accommodations than the resort’s current two and three-bedroom beach houses. Bookings can be made now for stays from mid-December onwards.
Choose from comfortable double queen beds or sink into serenity with a king sized bed option. Each spacious single-level guestroom will be designed in luxurious conch style architecture, keeping with the decor and design of Tranquility Bay’s signature graceful touches and understated luxury.
Listen to the sound of tranquility from your guestroom, framed by picturesque tropical landscaping and pool views. This exclusive resort oasis will be calm and comforting, with immaculate surroundings that offer unrivaled peace and seclusion.
A new tropical swimming pool will be added centrally to the Tropical Garden Guestrooms, not only providing spectacular views and lush landscaping, but tropical serenity.
Enjoy all of the amenities of Tranquility Bay Resort with more affordable luxury in mind, and tropical garden views.
Birders, outdoor enthusiasts and nature photographers can flock to the 15th annual Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival Tuesday through Sunday, Sept. 24-29, to witness the region’s renowned migration transformation.
The family- and photography-friendly event is anchored at Marathon’s oceanfront Curry Hammock State Park, mile marker (MM) 56.2. Field trips, workshops and educational programs focused on birds, butterflies, native wildlife and even astronomy span the entire Keys chain from Florida Bay by Everglades National Park to the islands of the Dry Tortugas.
Curry Hammock is home to the annual Florida Keys Hawkwatch, a citizen scientist effort of volunteers who monitor the fall raptor migration. The park became known as the Peregrine Falcon Migration Capital of the World after volunteers in 2012 recorded the migratory actions of more than 3,200 of the majestic birds in a single day.
The festival’s opening program, “Wading Birds of Florida Bay — A Pictorial Depiction,” features keynote speaker Rafael Galvez, the Hawkwatch coordinator. The presentation is planned for 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at Key Largo’s Murray Nelson Government Center, MM 102.
Saturday, Sept. 28, brings the event’s Wildlife Fair featuring activities, environmental booths, food and music from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the fair is free.
That evening, Elizabeth Moore, a NASA solar system educator, is to present a free 6-9 p.m. astronomy program at the park.
Sunday’s schedule features an all-day birding and wildlife photography excursion to Dry Tortugas National Park, a cluster of seven tiny islands approximately 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. A ferry to the remote birders’ paradise boards at 7:30 a.m. in Key West and returns around 5 p.m. Reservations are required and space is limited to two groups of 20 people each.
Entrance to Curry Hammock State Park is free for festival registrants. Registration fees apply for daytime programs and field trips.
Event information: www.keysbirdingfest.org or Kristie Killam at 305-872-0774
Visit the Florida Keys with up to 25% Savings on 3-bedroom beach houses! Enjoy an escape with friends, family, or seniors traveling together in such spacious beach houses. Use the link below to book this offer now before the sale ends on August 24th, 2013. Choose from travel dates between now and December. Find the best offers in September or by calling our onsite vacation planners at 877-705-5758.
NOTE: THE 72-HOUR SALE IS FOR 3-BEDROOM BEACH HOUSES
- 3-Bedroom Waterview Beach Houses: From $209/Night
- 3-Bedroom Waterfront Beach Houses: From $229/Night
- 3-Bedroom Beachfront Beach Houses: From $259/Night
Call 877-705-5758 to speak with an onsite vacation planner
Terms: Rates are subject to availability and frequent change. Black out dates and restrictions apply. Above rates do not reflect $25.00 per night resort fee and 12.5% applicable tax. Advertised 25% discount available most Sundays – Thursdays August through December 19 with lesser discount available on weekends.
Deposit Policy: 72 Hour Sale reservations require a full non-refundable deposit equal to all nights and resort fees, plus 12.5% tax. A100% deposit will be taken at the time of booking. Deposit is nonrefundable and nontransferable.
Cancellation Policy: 72 Hour Sale reservations are nonrefundable. If this reservation is cancelled, a refund will not be issued. Dates are final.
Relax, unwind and find serenity with our Weekday Sale in the Florida Keys! Book now and enjoy rates from just $209/night on two-bedroom waterview beach houses when staying Sundays through Thursdays. On some dates you will even find weekday rates on weekends for a limited time! Find the best Weekday Sale rates in September.
Call 855-210-0829 to speak with an onsite vacation planner to find the best offers on your travel dates.
WEEKDAY SALE SAVINGS
• 2-bedroom waterview beach house from $209/night
• 3-bedroom waterview beach house from $229/night
• 3-bedroom waterfront beach house from $254/night
• 2-bedroom beachfront beach house from $280/night
• 3-bedroom beachfront beach house from $297/night
Terms: Rates do not include daily resort fee of $25/night or applicable 12.5% taxes. The Weekday Sale is subject to limited availability. Rates and availability are subject to change.
September is such a majestic time to visit the Florida Keys and Tranquility Bay Resort, as the island quiets down and cooler nights start to set in. You can test the waters in September with some spectacular savings for guests that book in advance. We’ve also reduced our beachfront beach houses even further and you can discover a 2-bedroom beachfront unit from just $299/night. These rates will only last for a limited time so book now to avoid increases.
September Beachfront Savings from $299/Nt (Waterview from $209/Nt)
• 2-bedroom waterview beach house from $209/night
• 3-bedroom waterview beach house from $229/night
• 3-bedroom waterfront beach house from $269/night
• 2-bedroom beachfront beach house from $299/night
• 3-bedroom beachfront beach house from $349/night
Call 888-974-0421 to speak with an onsite vacation planner, or Book Online Now.
Note: These rates are available as of July 29, 2013 and are subject to increase after this date.
Marathon’s newest sightseeing venture, Overseas Aero Tours, provides a unique opportunity to see the Florida Keys from a vintage WWII biplane. During the company’s biplane rides for two, passengers can view the historic and contemporary bridges connecting the islands of the Florida Keys and spot marine life such as fish, sharks, rays and dolphins in the clear shallow waters below.
Highlights include a bird’s eye view of Marathon, Pigeon Key, Sombrero Lighthouse and the historic Seven Mile Bridge. Rides combine history and nature in a memorable, fascinating adventure for Keys visitors.
Overseas Aero Tours is a family-run endeavor. Pilots are Captain Brad Neat, who began Keys seaplane tours in 1993, and former Continental Airlines pilot Captain Evan Doumis. Both pilots are certified flight instructors and can provide flight training for those interested.
Excursion prices start at $110 for two people and range from eight-to-10-minute tours to 60-minute flights. Overseas Aero Tours’ biplane is located at the Florida Keys/Marathon International Airport, mile marker (MM) 52.2 gulfside.
For information, visit www.overseasaerotours.com and for reservations call 305-304-0015.
Fall in the Florida Keys is truly majestic. With the glow of a brilliant orange sunset, a backdrop of cool palm trees swaying in the breeze, and sparkling Gulf waters—you’ll agree that this is one of the best times to visit Tranquility Bay. For a limited time, you can even save up to 20% on fall stays at Tranquility Bay Resort.
Book now to avoid disappointment and below we’ve even highlighted some of the exciting events taking place this fall.
Fall Events in Marathon and Nearby Key West:
Marathon: September 19 – 22, Marathon International Bonefish Tournament
For more than 50 years, this challenge awards individual and team champions scoring the largest bonefish and permit, the top anglers in fly and grand slam divisions (for the top spin or fly angler who releases the largest bonefish, permit and tarpon “slam”), as well as the tongue-in-cheek “wet pants” champion titles for anglers wading from shore. Contact: Barb 305-304-8682 or email email@example.com.
The Florida Keys: September 19 – 22, 41st Annual Phil Peterson’s Key West Poker Run
It’s an All-American event as motorcycle enthusiasts from around the U.S. travel the Keys’ scenic Overseas Highway – designated Florida’s only All-American Road – from mainland Florida to Key West to raise money for charity. Winner takes all, and can win a new Harley-Davidson Motorcycle or cash. Stops are arranged throughout the Keys with a final celebration in Key West. New this year: Poker Run stops are to be open for riders starting Thursday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Sept. 22; more Keys-wide events to be planned for the entire week; cash prize to the person wearing the oldest official Phil Peterson’s Poker Run T-shirt. Contact: 800-545-2561 or 305-235-4023.
Marathon: September 25-29, Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival
Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival. Marathon & the Lower Keys. A celebration of the natural wonders of Florida wildlife takes place at the peak of the fall birding season. The event includes field trips focusing on education and conservation relating to Keys birds and wildlife, nature photography, hikes, kayak excursions and a family-fun environmental fair. Visit www.keysbirdingfest.org or call 305-872-0774.
Key West: October 10 – 13, SoMo Marathon & Half Marathon
Presented by Pat Croce’s Rum Barrel, this event is one of a kind! Imagine running through the southernmost island in the United States while enjoying a break from the ordinary. The Southernmost Marathon & Half promises just that- 26.2 or 13.1 miles of ocean and gulf views, as well as iconic Key West landmarks. A full weekend of events include the race and a Sunday Paddle Board race for the Special Olympics of Monroe County. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marathon: October 19, Third Annual Stone Crab Eating Contest
The much-anticipated opening of Florida’s stone crab season takes place Oct. 15 each year, and the season opening is followed by this tasty test of crab-consuming capacity. How fast can you crack and cleanly consume 25 stone crab claws? Test your munching mettle at this zany contest. Register by 12 p.m., contest starts at 1 p.m., entry fee is $25 per contestant, and individuals must be at least 18 years old to enter. Interested eaters are encouraged to register early. Contact: 305-743-4353 or email email@example.com.
Key West: October 18 – 27, 34th Annual Fantasy Fest
This outrageous 10-day costuming and masking celebration, themed “Superheroes, Villains … and Beyond!” features flamboyant costume competitions including one for pets, promenades, street fairs and a grand parade that stars marching groups, island bands and lavish floats. More than 40 masquerade contests, themed parties, parades and other spectacles are to challenge the creativity of mask and costume designers. Contact: 305-296-1817