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Top Keys
Cultural News

For Florida Keys guitarist David Feder, the music production manager of Key Largo's Island Jubilee, one of the festival's biggest benefits is its value as a showcase for talented local musicians. Presented by the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, Island Jubilee is scheduled Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5 and 6, at Harry Harris Park, mile marker (MM) 93.5 oceanside in Tavernier, Fla. The event is to feature a lively family atmosphere, a quirky cardboard boat regatta and a diverse and colorful collection of arts and crafts. Click here to learn more about Island Jubilee.


Top Keys
Fishing News

A 16-year-old youth with non-Hodgkins lymphoma recently enjoyed three days of productive fishing in the waters off the Florida Keys thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Captain José Wejebe, host of the ESPN2 fishing program "Spanish Fly." Jonathan Nitsch of Houston had been a longtime fan of Wejebe's program before coming to Key West with his family to fish with the popular angler while cameras rolled. Click here to find out what Nitsch caught.


Top Keys
Diving News

Rob Bleser's phone hasn't quit ringing. First, after waves from Hurricane Dennis pushed the 510-foot U.S. Navy ship Spiegel Grove into an upright position off Key Largo in early July. And lately, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita brushed the Keys with tropical storm–force winds. Callers want to know if the Spiegel Grove is still in the same upright position. Click here to find out if it is.


Upcoming
Keys Events:


Oct. 7
In Key West


Surrender the Booty to Help Katrina Victims!
The Pirate Soul Museum and the United States Coast Guard team up to aid Katrina victims. Volunteer pirates gather donated goods for Hurricane Katrina victims. Begins at 10 a.m. with "pirates" cruising by Mallory Square. At noon, the pirates surrender donations to the Coast Guard. Call 305-292-1113.

Oct. 21-22
in Key West


Goombay Festival
Two-day street fair with island-style food, handmade African arts and crafts, nonstop live entertainment and dancing in the streets. Held in Key West's historic Bahama Village. Click here or call 305-747-4544.

Oct. 21-30
in Key West


Fantasy Fest
Ten-day celebration with outlandish costume competitions, grand parade and wacky sights. Theme for 27th annual event is "Freaks, Geeks & Goddesses." Click here for more outrageous details.

Oct. 31
in Islamorada


Fright Night at Holiday Isle
Halloween party and costume contest with cash prizes. Visit holidayisle.com.

Nov. 1 to May 31
in Key West


Key West Old Island Days
Events include an art festival, crafts show, conch shell blowing contest and house and garden tours celebrating Key West culture and history. Click here for more details.

November 2
in Islamorada


Jazz Legend Maynard Ferguson
A featured benefit for the South Florida Center for the Arts. Begins at 8 p.m. at the Coral Shores High School Performing Arts Center, MM 89. Call 305-853-7070.

Nov. 3-6
in Key West


14th Annual Parrot Heads in Paradise "Meeting of the Minds"
Jimmy Buffett fans gather for their annual convention featuring live music at various venues throughout Key West. Click here for more details.

Nov. 5-6
in Key Largo


21st Annual Island Jubilee!
Barbecue, cardboard boat regatta, arts and crafts presented by Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Harry Harris Park, MM 93 Overseas Highway, Tavernier. For more information, click here or call 1-800-822-1088.

Nov. 10-13
in Marathon


Marathon Hibiscus Pedal
Challenge for cyclists to complete 20- to 100-mile rides across historic bridges. Featuring cycling legend John Sinibaldi. The Keys-wide bike tours incorporate rest stops at waterfront state parks including Long Key, Bahia Honda, Curry Hammock and Fort Zachary Taylor. Call 305-289-7672.

Nov. 10-13
in Marathon


Skydive Marathon
Enjoy awe-inspiring tropical skydiving over the heart of the Keys. Watch experts engage in canopy, free-flying and tandem forma-tions. Or try a tandem jump with a certified instructor. Click here or call 772-388-5672.

Nov. 11-13
in Marathon


Keys Old Time Radio Show
At the Marathon Community Theatre. Show and buffet Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. Brunch & matinee Sun. 3 p.m. MM 49.5 Overseas Highway. For more information, click here or call 305-743-0994.

Nov. 20
In Key West


Cayo Carnival
Outdoor party benefiting Reef Relief, an annual party with indigenous Keys cuisine, live music, raffle and more. From 5 to 11 p.m. at the East Martello Museum, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd. Click here or call 305-294-3100.

Nov. 25 to Dec. 4
in Key West


Pirates in Paradise 2005
Various Key West venues are transformed into a pirates' stronghold with sea battles, a thieves' market, sunset pirate sails, a living history encampment and nonstop entertain- ment. Click here or call 305-296-9694 for additional details.

Nov. 27-28
in Marathon


Florida Keys Art Guild Outdoor Art Festival
One of the season's first outdoor art festivals. At Gulfside Village Shopping Plaza, 5800 Overseas Highway. Call 305-743-4200 for more details.

 


Vol. 1, No. 12
October 2005

Photos by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau
Super Vee–class boats cross the starting line at the 2004 Key West World Championship.

Key West to Mark 25th Year of World Championship Offshore Racing Tradition

By ANDY NEWMAN
Florida Keys News Bureau

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Tradition.

For NASCAR racers it's the Daytona 500. For NFL players, the Super Bowl.

For offshore powerboat racers, the Key West World Championship is a priority November ritual that this year will celebrate its silver anniversary Nov. 13-20.

"Key West separates the men from the boys and, in the case of lady racers, the women from the girls," said Mark Rossi, a Key West city commissioner and president of the Conch Republic Offshore Powerboat Racing Association, the event's producer in conjunction with Super Boat International Productions. "This is where true offshore racing is."

Race organizers project that nearly 100 boats will participate in the event that serves as the culmination of the 2005 racing season for Super Boat International and American Power Boat Association/Union Internationale Motonautique competitors.

Events begin with a land-based boat parade Sunday, Nov. 13, with trailered boats and their crews rolling down Key West's famed Duval Street at 4 p.m.

Just like NASCAR, accidents do happen. Fortunately, the crew of CMS was uninjured in this rollover at the 2004 world championship.

Racing is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 16; Saturday, Nov. 19; and Sunday, Nov. 20. The fleet is to be divided into three separate races each day with starts at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. In between, numerous social events are scheduled for racers and those purchasing special VIP packages.

The 6.5-mile course through Key West Harbor and surrounding waters is what makes Key West one of the premiere racing venues in the world.

"Key West is the only race we have on the circuit where fans can get a real close view," said John Tomlinson, the veteran multiple-time world-champion throttleman for the Bacardi Silver Superboat. "It's a challenging race course."

What racers seem to like most about the course is the availability of both calm and rough water racing.

"You can be doing 140 to 150 mph in the harbor and then all of the sudden you hit the outside (legs) and the waves can knock you down to 90 mph," Tomlinson said. "That can make the race most intriguing."

On Wednesday and Saturday, the Superboats, Super Cats and Super Vees are to complete 7.5 laps. For the final race on Sunday they'll do 15 laps.

A pass for the week, which includes viewing and admission to the race village/pits area at Truman Annex, is $95 per person. Daily village admission on race days and nonrace days is $15 and $5 respectively.

A variety of VIP packages, including lunch during race day and admission to social events, begin at under $200 per person. For complete details and a schedule of events, visit www.superboat.com or call 305-296-6166.

Other recommended viewing areas include Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and various Key West harborfront hotels that line the course.

For accommodations information, explore this Web site or call 1-800-LAST-KEY or 305-294-2587.


Photo by Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau
Competitors in the 2004 Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest show their entries.

Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest Set for Oct. 29 in Key Largo

By BOB SERATA
Florida Keys News Bureau

KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Grinning jack-o'-lanterns, surrounded by yellowtail snapper, queen angelfish, grunts, tangs and beautiful corals, are to make their annual appearance under 30 feet of warm Florida Keys water during the Pumpkin Carving Contest hosted by Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort.

The contest, scheduled for the 1 p.m. dive on Saturday, Oct. 29, challenges buddy teams to create a jack-o'-lantern that will impress the experienced eyes of the judges, who double as crew of the Amoray Diver dive boat.

Contestants are to be given a hollowed-out pumpkin to take below the surface. Dive knives are to serve as carving tools, and prizes await the sculptors of the top three pumpkins.

There is no entry fee. The only cost is the regular dive boat fee: $60 per diver for the two-tank dive. The Amoray Dive Resort is offering specially priced multiple-dive and dive-lodging packages.

Contestants are encouraged to sign up early because space is limited and the contest draws divers from near and far. The top three prizes in 2004 were won by teams from Miami Springs, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla.

For more information on the contest, call toll-free 1-800-4Amoray (1-800-426-6729) or 305-451-3595.

To find out about area accommodations, call the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-822-1088 or 305-451-4747, or click here.


Marathon to Host Pro-Am Wakeboard Championship Oct. 21-23

By BOB SERATA
Florida Keys News Bureau

MARATHON, Florida Keys — There's the front flip mobius and air mobe 5, a skeezer and a vulcan, the slurpy and the hoochie glide. For anyone out of the loop, these terms refer to high-point-value maneuvers that professional and amateur wakeboard riders are likely to attempt during the 2005 U.S. Pro-Am Wakeboard Championship to be held at Sombrero Beach, near mile marker 50 in Marathon.

Sponsored by Tigé Boats and slated for Friday through Sunday, Oct. 21-23, the competition is to be held in Marathon for the first time.

"Marathon is the perfect place for an event like this," said Chris Bishoff, tournament director. "The beauty of the island is unique and memorable, yet easily accessible to the families who travel to compete in the event."

The Marathon contest is the final competition of the 2005 season. The standings in the professional men's and women's divisions are to determine the world's number-one riders for the season that began in April 2005. Along with the top ranking goes a $10,000 winner-take-all bonus and King of Wake title.

The three days of competition are to begin Friday, Oct. 21, and run through Sunday, Oct. 23, when champions will be crowned and prizes awarded. The format will be head-to-head rider elimination finals.

Entry fee for the competition is $150 per rider. For more information or to register, call 407-405-0121.

To find out about area accommodations, call the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-262-7284, or click here.


For more travel information on the Florida Keys:
www.fla-keys.com


Florida Keys Tourist Development Council
1201 White Street, Key West, FL 33040
1-800-FLA-KEYS

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Key West Big Pine and the Lower Keys Marathon Islamorada Key Largo