Gay Key West: Calendar of Events for November

Once Womenfest, Tropical Heat, Goombay weekend, and Fantasy Fest have passed by, it seems like a bit of a vacuum here in Key West. But then we blink our eyes and the Parrot Heads are here Nov. 1-4, followed by the Key West World Championship Power Boat races.

housands of fans of singer/songwriter/author Jimmy Buffett make their annual pilgrimage to the island that Buffett called home during one of his most creative periods, sharing an appreciation for their hero’s music and the tropical lifestyle it promotes.

Twenty years ago I traveled to Earl’s Court in London to promote the Florida Keys and Key West. Armed with great brochures, T-shirts, key chains and these terrific Jimmy Buffett cassette tapes, I thought I was ready for the multitudes. While Boy George and Lulu entertained the crowd, I did my best to tell the Brits who Jimmy Buffett was.

In all honesty I was unsuccessful, but I did bring those entertaining cassettes and gave them to the crowds at Atlanta Pride.

Back to the World Championship Power Boat races, also known as the Indianapolis 500 of powerboat racing. A portion of the 6.5-mile course runs through the middle of the Key West Harbor, meaning smooth water where racers can achieve speeds above 140 mph and provide breathtaking displays of skill and power.

The great thing about these races is that you can book space on our locally operated catamarans and have a front-row seat, watching from a safe location beside the course as the boats speed past. Not only can you enjoy food, libations and live music, but also you’re close enough to see, feel and smell the super race boats.

After all this excitement, one might ask what I do for fun. While I wish I had unlimited time to chill and enjoy the entertainment Key West offers, I do have to pick and choose from just a couple evenings of entertainment. Among my favorite leisure activities is attending productions at our local theaters.

Our famed Red Barn Theatre opens its season Nov. 7 with “Person of Interest.”  Three grisly murders, one tough suspect, and one master interrogator combine to create a suspense-filled night at this new play by playwright Bob Bowersox.

The renowned Waterfront Playhouse opens with “S’Wonderful — An Evening of Gershwin.” Twelve of our great local vocalists will bring you the timeless music of an American classic.

If you’ve ever heard our local singers, you will agree that this is a “must-see” evening. The opening night includes a meet-and-greet party complete with food and yes, libations. If you’re planning to be here Nov. 16 or 17, I suggest you book your seats today!

I will be in San Francisco this week for the International Conference on Gay and Lesbian tourism; then back to the island to get ready for the holiday season.

Participants in the SMART Ride, a fund-raising bicycle ride from Miami to Key West, arrive on the island Nov. 17. If you’re here, come to the White Street Pier, location of our AIDS Memorial, and welcome the riders. Last year they raised a record amount of money — more than $675,700 for six Florida community-based organizations serving individuals and families whose lives have been affected by HIV.

More about this next time. Meanwhile, have a great fall season!

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