Ready for an epic throwback? This year marks the Florida Keys Bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of the Territorial Florida legislature’s establishment of Monroe County - that took place on July 3, 1823. This united the entire Keys island chain! While our community will find almost any reason to throw a party, the Bicentennial is an extra special time for us all. From Key Largo to Key West, various events are popping up throughout 2023 to celebrate the past two centuries in true fashion. We’re breaking them all down here. Happy Birthday to us.
‘200 Years of Paradise’ Kick-off Concert and Drone Show
Sat. March 25
Kick off the Bicentennial celebrations with an evening of live music and Keys heritage presentations at Key West’s Coffee Butler Amphitheater. Local musician Nick Norman and trop-rock sensation Howard Livingston are on the bill, following welcome remarks by Monroe County Mayor Craig Cates. A sprinkle of segments from South Florida PBS’ documentary, “The Florida Keys: 200 Years of Paradise,” will also be featured.
Also on the lineup - a dazzling drone show. Nearly 250 drones are set to illuminate the sky high above Truman Waterfront Park, with imagery inspired by the Keys. Admission is free. The show starts at 6 p.m.
Naval Air Station Key West’s Southernmost Air Spectacular - Air Show with the Blue Angels!
Sat. April 15 - Sun. April 16
The popular air show comes to Boca Chica Field in Key West for a weekend of spectacular flying, static displays, a Kid’s Zone, souvenirs, concessions, and the incredible maneuvers of the Blue Angels. See the military in action as they honor two centuries of the Navy’s presence in Key West. Admission and parking is free.
Sea-to-Table Dinner in Islamorada
Sat. June 10
Commemorate the Florida Keys Bicentennial with special events like this sea-to-table dinner this June in Islamorada, a gorgeous village of six islands about an 80-minute drive along the Overseas Highway from Key West. The dinner will showcase the island chain’s local chefs, fishing captains, artists, and coral restoration initiatives. Details are still being finalized, so stay tuned to the Bicentennial events page for more info.
Bicentennial Day Festivities and Fireworks
Mon. July 3
Of course, July 3 is the big day - the day the Florida Keys were established 200 years ago. Bicentennial Day festivities include a fireworks show in the Lower Keys, select museums highlighting the evolution of the Keys, the Florida Keys Council of the Arts’ 300-canvas “Connections Project” mosaic mural, and the creation of the world’s largest key lime pie.
Want to take a trip down memory lane? Check out our Key West History Guide, where we break down everything from shipwrecks to bootleggers, eccentric boat captains, famous writers, ghost stories, and more.
If you’re attending these birthday celebrations, you’ll need a place to stay. Check out our best rates at 24 North Hotel. We have an on-site Starbucks, shuttle service to Old Town, a stacked Events Calendar, and our pool area is one of the best on the island. See our special offers - including special rates for Florida residents, AAA members, seniors, and government officials.