Category Archives: Florida Keys Events

Island Art Festival welcomes the start of the holiday season

The holiday spirit it soon set to sweep over the Florida Keys and while there will be more palm trees than Christmas trees and certainly no sign of snow, there will be a welcoming festive atmosphere for visitors and locals to embrace.

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In the subtropical Lower Keys with balmy breezes and warm sunshine, the holiday season will start at the free-admission Big Pine & Lower Keys Island Art Festival from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, November 29, on the grounds of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, mile marker 31 oceanside.

A schedule of highlights will include exhibits and booths featuring handcrafted art, jewelry, pottery and more by local artists and artisans. This family-friendly event offers visitors the chance to purchase one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and artwork while enjoying the natural beauty surrounding the area.

There will also be live music by popular local bands and entertainers alongside delicious food and drink, making it the perfect seasonal tradition in the Lower Keys.

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Sombrero Beach Run Takes Over Marathon, Florida in March

Attracted by a weekend filled with sunshine and athletic fun, more than 700 racing circuit runners are expected to join the eighth annual Sombrero Beach Run scheduled for Saturday, March 1.

Runners and walkers from 28 U.S. states as well as international participants from Canada and Europe already have registered.

Raising Funds For a Good Cause

Proceeds for the popular “FUN-draising” event benefit Keys Area Interdenominational Resources, a Marathon-based nonprofit organization that provides food and emergency services to Keys families in need.

Event Info and Times

Co-sponsored by the Southernmost Runners Club, the 2014 weekend workout begins Friday, March 1, with a 5-6:30 p.m. registration kick-off party. Stocked with food, drinks, music and entertainment, the event is to be staged at Sombrero Beach at the end of Sombrero Beach Road, mile marker 50. Walkers and runners also can register on site at 7 a.m. Saturday, March 1. The 10k run starts at 8 a.m. and the 5k run/walk begins at 9:15 a.m.

Event Activities

Attractions on race day include food, beverages, raffle prizes, a fine art silent auction, music and fun in addition to a full slate of community and Keyswide events for attendees to enjoy.

Awards are to be given to the overall male and female winners, and second-place overall finishers in the 10k run, 5k run and 5k walk. Awards include Keys resort stays, cash and experiences with local eco-attractions and watersports. An awards ceremony on the beach follows the race with a barbecue, drinks, music and warm sunshine.

Registration Information

Runners also can register in a 15k challenge that includes both the 10k and 5k events and makes them eligible for awards in both categories. All 15k finishers are to receive a custom hat.

Pre-registration for the 15k event is $35 per person or $40 on race day. Students age 18 and under and U.S. military personnel can enter for $15. For 10k and 5k participants, pre-registration is $25 and the race-day cost is $30. Students age 18 and under can enter for $10. All participants can pre-register at www.active.com until 11:59 p.m. EST Feb. 27. The first 500 registered participants are to receive a custom logo T-shirt and welcome bag.

Event information: www.sombrerobeachrun.com or 305-289-9868

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Earth Day Activities Planned Near Tranquility Bay Resort

 

April 22 marks the worldwide commemoration of Earth Day and throughout the Florida Keys, visitors can enjoy outdoor events and volunteer activities, including the one-day planetary celebration. Many don’t realize that the Florida Keys & Key West are surrounded by a national marine sanctuary and paralleled by the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef, with significant conservation efforts in place. We’ve highlighted the Earth Day activities taking place near Tranquility Bay Resort in Marathon and Key West although there is an array of activity throughout the Florida Keys.
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Marathon Area Activities

Bahia Honda State Park: For the 18th year, the 524-acre Bahia Honda State Park, located in the Lower Keys at mile marker (MM) 36.8, is to host its annual Earth Day Celebration Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free family-friendly event features live music by various Keys favorites including the popular family band The Doerfels, a sand sculpture contest, fish printing, puppet shows, face painting, children’s games and marine touch tanks.

Environmental exhibitions are to be presented by local groups including Marathon’s renowned Turtle Hospital, Pigeon Key, the Florida Keys Astronomy Club and many more. Bahia Honda’s pristine expanse of sandy beach has been ranked among the United States’ 10 best. One of the Florida Keys’ most popular camping and recreation areas, Bahia Honda offers deep near-shore waters for swimming and snorkeling as well as camping, picnicking, watersports, a marina and rental cabins.

For more information about Earth Day activities at the park, call the Bahia Honda Sand and Sea Nature Center at 305-872-9807.

Dolphin Research Center Bridge Cleanup: Located at MM 59 bayside on Grassy Key, the Dolphin Research Center is sponsoring a bridge cleanup Thursday, April 25, for interested volunteers who want to enjoy time outdoors while giving back to the environment. Participants are to meet at 4:30 p.m. at Tom’s Harbor Bridge, MM 60.6. The cleanup will begin at the parking area on the west end of the bridge on the ocean side and last until 5:45 p.m.

Volunteers are encouraged to wear clothes, hats and shoes that can get wet or dirty, and bring a bug repellent, sunscreen and a cutting tool. For more information, contact Courtney Coburn at 305-289-1121, ext. 231. Dolphin Research Center also is to host its annual Ocean Day Celebration Thursday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. DRC welcomes Florida Keys third- and fifth-grade classes for a fun-filled day of watching the center’s resident dolphins and learning about marine life, the Florida Keys environment and other topics.

As well as Dolphin Research Center, presenters include numerous environmental and nature groups such as Bahia Honda State Park, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Turtle Hospital, Reef Relief and others.

The center is open daily to the public. General admission is $20 per adult, $15 for children ages 4-12, $17.50 for members of the military and free for children age 3 and younger. For information, call 305-289-1121 or visit www.dolphins.org.

 

Key West Activities

Celebrate the planet outdoors Saturday, April 6, during the Earth Day 5k Run/Walk starting at McCoy Indigenous Park, located at Atlantic Boulevard and White Street in Key West, and sponsored by the Key West Southernmost Runners club. Earth-friendly recyclable awards are to be given to the top overall male and female, top masters male and female and first- and second-place runners in each age group ranging from 9 and under to 70-plus. Additional awards await top 5k walk finishers.

Final registration and race packet pickup at the park is set for 5-7 p.m. Friday, April 5, or on race day at 7 a.m. The race begins at 8 a.m.

Earth Day Movie Festival: Participants age 14 and over pay a $15 advance registration fee or $20 on race day, while participants age 13 and under pay $10 in advance or $15 on race day. Race T-shirts are to be given to the first 100 registered participants. Proceeds benefit the Friends and Volunteers of Refuges organization. To register, visit www.southernmostrunners.com/applications/ED5KRegistration-13.pdf

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is to present an Earth Day Movie Festival Saturday, April 20, at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center at 35 East Quay Road in Key West. Starting at 10 a.m., the series of six hour-long films is produced by the World Ocean Observatory and Compass Light Films and highlights ocean climate, energy and biodiversity. They include “Ocean Day: The Copenhagen Climate Talks,” “Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification,” “Exploring Bloody Wall,” “Census of Marine Life: Approach & Findings,” “Ocean Energy Innovators” and “Dark Horizon,” with the last film scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

Admission to the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is free. For information, visit floridakeys.noaa.gov/eco_discovery.html.

 

Other Florida Keys Activities

Keys visitors can “take a pledge” in the Got Your Bags? Florida Keys campaign, which encourages the voluntary reduction of single-use plastic bags and the adoption of reusable bags to decrease marine debris and litter in the Keys.

The grass-roots initiative was launched in cooperation with the Keys’ Green Living & Energy Education organization, a local nonprofit dedicated to education and promoting sustainable living in the Keys.

Residents and visitors who sign a pledge at First State Bank at MM 30.5 in Big Pine Key — the program’s first designated pledge station — are to receive a complimentary reusable shopping bag donated by the bank and Save-A-Turtle. The latter’s mission is to preserve and protect rare and endangered marine turtles. For more information, visit www.keysglee.com/gyb.

Visitors who want to do something good for the environment beyond Earth Day and add an enriching element to their next Florida Keys vacation can connect and get involved with voluntourism opportunities through a new website at www.keysvoluntourism.com.

The site provides direct links to a variety of Florida Keys charities, nonprofit organizations and foundations — all dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of human and animal life in the island chain — that are seeking volunteers.

Keys travelers can give back to the destination and its unique ecosystems with such activities as helping build an underwater coral nursery or planting corals on actual reefs, collecting reef fish populations data, assisting with yard work or minor repairs at an outdoor tropical garden facility, feeding injured wild birds or mending their cages, cleaning or maintaining nature paths or trails, or even helping with fundraising events.

Florida Keys green travel information: www.fla-keys.com/greentravel

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Marathon House & Garden Tour and Art Show Set for March 1-3

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Some of the finest homes and lushest gardens on the islands of Marathon are to be open to the public during the Marathon Garden Club’s annual House & Garden Tour set for Saturday, March 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The annual tour showcases the Keys’ outdoor lifestyle and spotlights three of Marathon’s private single-family homes and waterfront island retreats. They include a tropical rainforest, Tuscan-influenced open one-level residence and grand 4.5-acre oceanfront estate called the Bait Shack. The homes and gardens can be visited in any order.

The garden club’s grounds at mile marker 50 bayside also are to be open for exploration, with weekend attractions including an art show featuring local watercolor artists.

A meet­-and-greet artists’ reception is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Friday, March 1, featuring hors d’oeuvres, drinks and live music. Admission to the reception and art events is free. Hours for the art show are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 3. All displayed artwork is for sale.

Admission for the House & Garden Tour is $25 per person including light refreshments.

Tickets can be purchased at the garden club, located at 5270 Overseas Highway in Marathon; Key Bana Resort Apparel, 303 Sadowski Causeway on Key Colony Beach, and the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce, 12222 Overseas Highway in Marathon.

Event information: www.marathongardenclub.org or 305-743-4971

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Pigeon Key Art Festival set for the weekend of Feb. 23-24

Fine artists and craftspeople from around the country are to spotlight their wares at the Pigeon Key Art Festival, set for the weekend of Feb. 23-24 at Marathon Airport, mile marker 54. The annual creative festival is set to transform the airport terminal and front access road into a tropically themed oasis of artwork, pottery, paintings, glass, sculpture, photography, jewelry and more. Each year artists demonstrate their skills during the show, giving attendees a glimpse of the techniques behind their original creations.

Now in its 19th year, the event is named for Pigeon Key, a small island beneath the Old Seven Mile Bridge that housed workers constructing the Over-Sea Railroad in the early 1900s and remains a Florida Keys cultural landmark today.

The festival features entertainment by Keys-based musicians including The Doerfels, Misery Loves Company, Brian Roberts & Rob DiStasi, Dave Feder, John Bartus, GearlJam and The Moondogs.

Other attractions include food and beverage booths serving local delicacies and sweet treats, an activity booth for children and the return of the Wyland Foundation to paint an official festival canvas with kids. A traditional Sunday art raffle concludes the weekend. Raffle tickets are to be available through 1 p.m. Sunday for a chance to win one of more than 100 pieces of artwork.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 per person for adults, $4 for students and free for children under 12. Parking is free at the Marathon Airport and festival patrons can retain their ticket stubs and redeem them for a free ferry trip to Pigeon Key within one year of their show admission.

Proceeds from the event are to benefit the Pigeon Key Foundation. In addition, featured Islamorada artist Michelle Nicole Lowe is to paint a commemorative original art piece for the foundation that will be available at the show.  Event information: pigeonkey.net or 305-509-2559

To book a two or three-bedroom beach house at Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort, call (855) 606-4502 while rooms last or visit www.tranquilitybay.com!

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Marathon Seafood Festival and Florida Keys Resort Offer Food and Fun

Tranquility Bay Resort

Marathon’s sumptuous signature food fair, the Original Marathon Seafood Festival, is set for Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, serving up an ocean-lover’s feast of indigenous seafood including fish, shrimp, lobster and stone crabs. After a day of fun, Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort offers a nearby rest stop for families and friends traveling to the event, with spacious Florida Keys beach houses right on the Gulf of Mexico.

About the Original Marathon Seafood Festival

Each year, tens of thousands of seafood fans descend on the popular Middle Keys venue at Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside. The menu includes mahi-mahi, smoked fish and conch served three ways: ceviche style, “cracked” or in fritters fried to golden perfection.

Foods are prepared according to secret recipes and Keys chefs offer up their best interpretations of conch chowders, side salads and local fish for bragging rights at the annual munch-a-thon. Attendees should save room for dessert at the festival’s sweets booth, with fresh Key lime pies, baked goods, cakes, cool smoothies and icy treats.

Family Activities

The family-focused weekend attraction is a fundraiser for local scholarship programs, but at its core it celebrates the area’s commercial fishing heritage. Children’s games and more than 200 vendor booths dot the park. Attractions include a variety of wares created by artists and craftspeople, nautical items, tropically themed clothing and apparel, plants and flowers, boats and water sports paraphernalia.

Entertainment

Popular Keys entertainers are to perform, as is headliner and country music favorite Amber Leigh. Leigh is scheduled to take the stage Sunday immediately following a 1 p.m. national anthem and military salute that includes a flyover of two F-18 fighter jets from Boca Chica Naval Air Station Key West.

Hours and Information

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 per adult and free for children under 12 when accompanied by a paying adult. Event information: www.marathonseafoodfestival.com

Book your Marathon Seafoood Festival Hotel Stay

To book a room at Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort during the event, please call (855) 606-4502 or visit www.TranquilityBay.com. Space is limited in March so please book in advance to avoid disappointment.

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Sombrero Beach Run Hotel: Tranquility Bay Resort Offers Sun and Fun for Runners

Tranquility Bay Resort- Sombrero Beach Run

Attracted by a weekend filled with sunshine and fun, more than 700 runners and walkers from across the globe are expected to join the seventh annual Sombrero Beach Run set for Saturday, March 2 in Marathon, Florida. Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort provides the perfect location for event goers and spacious three-bedroom Marathon accommodations which are great for sharing with friends.

Runners from 20 U.S. states as well as international participants from Canada and Europe already have registered for the event. Proceeds benefit Keys Area Interdenominational Resources, a Marathon-based nonprofit organization that provides food and emergency services to Keys families in need.

The 2013 weekend workout begins Friday, March 1, with a 5-6:30 p.m. registration kick-off party located at Sombrero Beach at the end of Sombrero Beach Road, mile marker (MM) 50. Food, drinks and entertainment will be available. Walkers and runners also can register on site at 7 a.m. Saturday, March 2.

The 15k combined challenge and 10k run start at 8 a.m. Individual 5k runners and walkers are to begin at 9:15 a.m.

Attractions on race day include food, beverages, raffle prizes, music and fun in addition to a full slate of community and Keyswide events for attendees to enjoy all weekend. They include a Middle Keys bicycle tour Sunday, March 3, from Marathon’s famous Seven Mile Bridge to Bahia Honda State Park.

Registration for the 15k event is $35 per person in advance or $40 on race day. Students age 18 and under and U.S. military personnel can enter for $15. For 10k and 5k participants, pre-registration is $25 and race-day cost is $30. Students age 18 and under can enter for $10.

Cash awards await the overall male and female winners of each of the 15k, 10k, 5k run and 5k walk, as do other awards for second-place overall winners including a sunset cruise for four, aerial tours, snorkel or dive trips, dolphin swims or parasail rides. An awards ceremony on the beach follows the race with food, drinks and music.

Event information: www.sombrerobeachrun.com or 305-289-9868.

To book a room at Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort during the Sombrero Beach Run, visit www.TranquilityBay.com or call (855) 606-4502.

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