With activities ranging from a “drag” race for female impersonators to a lighthearted sea battle featuring tall ships, the Conch Republic’s 10-day birthday party is set to take place Friday, April 22, through Sunday, May 1.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, April 24, divers and snorkelers visiting the Florida Keys can plunge into an underwater game of hide and seek during the 11th annual Underwater Easter Egg Hunt in the warm, clear waters off Key Largo.
Showcasing the republic’s eccentric spirit, the 29th annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration commemorates the Florida Keys’ secession from the United States following a 1982 U.S. Border Patrol blockade that virtually stopped traffic on the only road to the mainland.
In protest, local officials staged the secession. After proclaiming the Conch Republic, they declared war on the mother country, pelted federal agents with stale Cuban bread, surrendered after 60 seconds and demanded $1 billion in foreign aid.
Today patriots throughout the Keys fly the royal blue flag of the republic, whose motto is “We Seceded Where Others Failed,” and celebrate the secession’s anniversary each year with a lively island-wide party.
As well as the drag race and sea battle for sea dogs and wenches, festival highlights include the Conch Republic Red Ribbon Bed Race, a charity race of decorated beds down Duval Street.
The schedule also includes a pirates’ ball and pig roast, fiddlers’ contest and jam of bluegrass and old-time music, Conch Crawl showcasing favorite watering holes, Conch Republic military reception aboard the World War II museum ship Mohawk and sailing race commemorating the Keys’ historic shipwreck salvage tradition
For more information about top events in Florida take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Florida.
For more information on the Conch Republic celebrations visit www.conchrepublic.com