KEY WEST, Florida Keys - The annual Conch Republic Red Ribbon Bed Race, billed as "the most fun you can have in bed with your clothes on" is to roll through downtown Key West on April 29, during the 35th Annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration Festival.
The wacky competition - a popular event during the 10-day Conch Republic Independence Celebration, April 21-30, is to feature decorated wheel-mounted beds, each launched down Key West's famed Duval Street, from Fleming to Petronia streets. A team of four runners, some wearing costumes, races the decked-out beds, while one lucky rider lounges aboard each bed.
Festivities are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., with a lineup and inspection of the festive beds, followed by a parade showcasing the beds at 3 p.m. The race is set to kick off at 3:30 p.m. An awards ceremony - with honors to be presented for first, second, third place and "best themed bed" -- is to take place at the Bourbon Street Pub's Garden Bar at 724 Duval Street.
Presented by Key West's Bourbon Street Pub Complex, the Conch Republic Red Ribbon Bed Race is a fundraiser for the Florida Keys' AIDS Help organization and one of the most popular events during the Conch Republic Independence Celebration. Entry fee for each team is $100, with proceeds to benefit the Keys charity. The 10-day Conch Republic Independence Celebration, April 21-30, commemorates the Florida Keys' 1982 symbolic secession from the United States and celebrates 35 years of the independent republic. The island republic, whose motto is "We seceded where others failed," was born to combat a Border Patrol blockade of the Florida Keys that threatened to derail the region's emerging tourism-based economy.
The 2017 event includes a lineup of other festivities that include a Tall Ship Sea Battle, with shore-side viewing; the Great Conch Republic Drag Race and a March of the Sea Dogs Pet Stroll, to benefit a local pet charity.
Bed Race information: New Orleans House at 305-293-9800
Event information and schedule: conchrepublic.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Conch Republic Red Ribbon Bed Race is billed as "the most fun you can have in bed with your clothes on."
A team of four runners, some wearing costumes, races the decked-out beds, while one lucky rider lounges aboard each bed. Image: Rob O'Neal