New Year’s Eve revelers can expect to combine “bubbly” with “balmy” in the Florida Keys, raising champagne toasts at celebrations along the island chain as subtropical breezes rustle the palm fronds.
While New York City is famed for its Times Square “ball drop,” Key West is to stage three widely differing takeoffs on that New Year’s Eve tradition as midnight approaches Friday, Dec. 31.
The arrival of 2011 is to be heralded on the island’s Duval Street with the “drop” of a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, to the flat roof of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval. Thousands of spectators gather for the annual gala, emceed by a rooftop host and featuring a countdown to midnight recorded on a huge clock. At midnight, the shell descends and cheers erupt. Live music on Sloppy Joe’s indoor stage is to round out the revelry.
For more information, call 305-296-2388, ext. 121, or visit www.sloppyjoes.com.
Key West revelers also can welcome the New Year with Sushi — not the seafood sensation, but a sensational diva who has adopted its name. Female impersonator Sushi headlines the 14th annual celebration at the Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House complex, 724 Duval St. Wearing a dazzling gown and perched in a super-sized red high heel, Sushi is to be lowered from the balcony of the complex as the new year arrives. Performances by renowned female impersonators kick off the merrymaking.
For more information, visit www.bourbonstpub.com/pages/newyearseve.html or call 305-293-9800.
For piratical partiers, the action is headquartered in Key West’s Historic Seaport. At midnight, a winsome pirate wench is to descend from the top of a tall ship’s mast as cannon blasts welcome 2011. Scallywags in attendance also can expect live music, dancing and festivities at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St.
For more information, call 305-292-3302 or visit www.schoonerwharf.com.
In Islamorada, midnight fireworks on the beach are planned at Pierre’s Restaurant and Morada Bay Beach Café, mile marker (MM) 81.6 bayside. Live music and cocktails available for purchase are to add to the celebration, but coolers are not allowed. In addition, reservations are being accepted for a gala dinner at Pierre’s.
For more information and reservations, call 305-664-8414.
Islamorada’s Cheeca Lodge & Spa, MM 82 oceanside, also is staging a New Year’s Eve celebration and midnight fireworks display. Other attractions include live entertainment, dancing on the beach and a four-course plated dinner.
For more information, costs and reservations, call 305-664-4651, ext. 4580.
A fireworks extravaganza over the water highlights Key Largo’s festivities as well. The sky above Blackwater Sound is to light up with a dazzling display hosted by bayside restaurants Sundowners, Señor Frijoles, Cactus Jack’s, Gus’ Grille at the Marriott Key Largo Beach Resort and the Caribbean Club, all located around MM 103-104. Tables fill up fast, so partiers are advised to arrive early.
For information, call 305-451-4502.
Hearty exercise is to eclipse hearty partying Saturday, Jan. 1, when the annual 5k Run, Walk and Crawl is to depart from Islamorada’s Founders Park, MM 87 bayside. For more information, call 305-853-1685.
A day of festivities is to follow, highlighted by a blessing of the fleet at Whale Harbor Bridge, MM 84 oceanside. For information, call 305-393-9955.
For information about lodging in the Florida Keys, and a complete roster of holiday season events, visit the Florida Keys website at www.fla-keys.com. Keys information also can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/floridakeysandkeywest and on Twitter at twitter.com/thefloridakeys.