What’s on this season in the Florida Keys & Key West
21.11.2023 - 13:16
With warm, sunny weather and plenty of tropical pre-holiday cheer, now’s a great time to visit the Florida Keys and Key West. From Key Largo to Key West, the 2023 holiday season features spirited events such as lighted boat parades, only-in-the Keys frivolity, sparkling waterfront celebrations and other island festivities.
Here’s what visitors to the island chain can expect in the run-up to Christmas and New Year.
Lower Keys’ Island Art Festival, 25 November, Big Pine Key
Sleigh rides and snowball fights aren’t on the menu of holiday amusements in the subtropical Lower Florida Keys, but visitors don’t need them to celebrate the season at the Lower Keys’ Island Art Festival. The open-air event is set to take place on Saturday, 25 November, in the shaded grounds of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center on Big Pine Key.
The good-spirited gathering provides an opportunity for visitors and locals to mingle, enjoy the balmy Keys climate and kick off the holidays in authentic island style. Scheduled highlights include as many as 50 booths featuring original art, crafts and other items by regional artists and artisans. Other festival attractions include exhibits by not-for-profit groups and live music by local bands and entertainers. Food and beverages from on-site vendors will be available to add to the seasonal cheer.
Islamorada Holiday Fest, 1 December, Islamorada
Islamorada’s 19th annual Holiday Fest is set for 4-10 p.m. on Friday, 1 December, on the Great Lawn inside Founders Park, Islamorada. Highlights include a 30-tonne snow mountain and the celebration’s centrepiece, a 35-foot-tall holiday tree with “magical” snow blowing through its branches. The annual holiday parade, themed “Happy Holidays and Best Fishes!” is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. featuring decorated floats, including one carrying Santa himself. Other attractions include musical and dance performances on an outdoor stage throughout the event. There will also be a holiday gift bazaar including crafts created by local artisans. Entry is free.
Mote Marine’s Ocean Fest, 3 December, Key West
Ocean aficionados and eco-travellers can celebrate the unique marine environment of the Florida Keys, including the continental United States’ only coral barrier reef, during Mote Marine Laboratory’s 2023 Ocean Fest.
Set for Sunday, 3 December, at Key West’s Truman Waterfront Park, the family-friendly festival is designed to entertain and educate while raising awareness about the Keys’ marine ecosystems and the need to preserve them. Attendees can explore conservation and environmental exhibits, encounter live animals, view and purchase the creations of local marine artists and craftspeople, rock to the sounds of live music