The Florida Keys & Key West

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LGBT Cultural Festival to Spotlight Key West's Cuban Connection

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Culture and history fans can celebrate the unique historic connection between Key West and Cuba during the LGBT Art & Cultural REvolution scheduled Thursday through Wednesday, Sept. 7-13.

Key West activities are to take place Sept. 7-9 and include cigar, rum distillery and art gallery tours as well as receptions and a drag show. Subsequently, those wishing to visit Cuba can do so Sept. 10-13.

The festival showcases the Cuban-influenced heritage of Key West, which actually is located closer to Cuba than to the U.S. mainland. The island city began welcoming its Cuban neighbors in the early 1830s and its first cigar factory opened in 1831. In the late 1800s Key West was home to almost 150 cigar factories where workers produced as many as 100 million hand-rolled cigars per year.

Festivities are set to begin Thursday, Sept. 7, with the Papa's Pilar Rum Opening Night Reception at the newly restored distillery location at 201 Simonton St. Attractions are to include handcrafted rum, foods from around the world and musical entertainment.

Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8 and 9, attendees can enjoy a daily Rum & Cigar Lounge Pool Party at the festival's Key West headquarters, the Marker Waterfront Resort at 200 William St.

Friday also is to feature afternoon Key West art gallery and studio tours showcasing the work of the festival's celebrated artists. Saturday's tours spotlight island city museums including the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, 907 Whitehead St., where the legendary author spent most of the 1930s.

Also Saturday, a gourmet Cuba libre brunch is planned at the historic Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, 1500 Reynolds St. The menu is to include Cuban-inspired dishes and Key West lime mojitos.

Saturday night's planned highlight is a drag show at the 801 Bourbon Bar, 801 Duval St., featuring a performance by the Cuban-born Marytrini.

Participants can head for Cuba Sunday, Sept. 10, aboard a yacht or private plane chartered through festival sponsor Havana Air. The itinerary is to include Cuban art studio tours, dance performances and dinner at a local artist's home and gallery.

Multiple festival packages are available at keywesttocubafest.com or by emailing Wendy DeLucca at info@deluccaevents.com.

Event information, schedule and ticketing: keywesttocubafest.com or 954-998-4071

Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or gaykeywestfl.com

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Original art by Michel Mirabal.

Original art by Michel Mirabal.

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