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Top Keys
Cultural News

Most artists strive to make their work sublime, but only the creative spirits at Big Pine's Artists in Paradise Gallery strive to have theirs submerged. Each year, artists from the bright and vibrant gallery display their work beneath the sea during the Lower Keys' annual Underwater Music Festival. Click here to discover how this exhibition of "aqua culture" is accomplished.

Top Keys
Fishing News

A New York state angler scored a rare catch and release of a swordfish in shallow bay waters off the Florida Keys. Ray Wyllins of Smithtown caught the fish March 30 in eight feet of water near Islamorada. For more about this remarkable catch, click here.

Top Keys
Dive News

NORFOLK, Va. — After 10 years of fundraising and permitting, a project has begun to sink a retired military ship off Key West, Fla., to serve as an artificial reef. Click here to learn more about the U.S. Air Force missile-tracking ship, the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg.

Keys Voices

Few people are aware that the stone crabs served at the famous Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in Miami are provided by a commercial fishing operation in the Florida Keys — Keys Fisheries in Marathon. And Gary Graves, owner of Keys Fisheries restaurant and manager of the fishing operation, has been with the business since it began 40 years ago. Click here to meet the Keys' king of crab.

Keys Events:

Now through June 30
in Key West

"Beyond the Frame, Impressionism Revisited" Sculpture Exhibit
In this exhibit at the Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House, 281 Front St., sculptor J. Seward Johnson, Jr., presents large-scale three-dimensional interpretations of 19th-century paintings. Click here.

May 12-14
in Marathon

41st Marathon International Tarpon Tournament
Anglers in one of the longest-running tournaments are to catch and release mighty silver kings using 12- and 20-pound tackle. Call (305) 743-6139.

May 17-19
in Key West

Shell Key West Challenge
Highly-skilled anglers are to pursue a variety of offshore fish to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute. Click here.

May 18-20
in Marathon

Marathon Offshore Grand Prix
World-class, high-speed powerboats are to compete in the waters surrounding Marathon and the historic Seven Mile Bridge in the Middle Florida Keys. Click here.

May 18-20
in Key Largo

21st Annual Coconuts Dolphin Tournament
Anglers are to compete in an event named for a Key Largo restaurant that serves up plenty of dolphin fish, known on most menus as Mahi Mahi. Call (561) 741-1124.

May 20-23
in Islamorada

13th Annual Outback Steakhouse Golden Fly Invitational Tarpon Tournament
This prestigious fly tournament for large tarpon benefits the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and college scholarships for Keys students. Click here.

June 1-9
in Key West

PrideFest Key West
This festival honors diversity, openness and freedom in the city that is consistently recognized as one of the world's top gay and lesbian vacation destinations. Click here.

June 3-8
in Islamorada

Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Tournament
The world's best fly rod anglers are to pursue the mighty silver kings in one of the most storied tournaments in the Keys. Call (305) 664-2444.

June 10-16
in Key Largo & Islamorada

Island Sun Splash
Local businesses are to offer a host of water-related activities for the whole family, including diving, snorkeling, kayaking and sailing. Participants can experience a discover-scuba class, a snorkel adventure or dive the Keys' shipwreck trail. Click here.

June 11-13
in Islamorada

Women's World Invitational Fly Championship Tarpon Series
This invitational fly tournament is open to men and women, and benefits environmental scholarship funds. Click here.

June 15-17
in Big Pine &
the Lower Keys

Big Pine & Lower Keys Dolphin Tournament
Anglers are to compete to catch dolphin fish, one of the most popular species in the Keys. Click here.

June 16-18
in Marathon

21st Annual Father's Day Dolphin Derby
Anglers celebrate Father's Day by catching one of the most beautiful, best-tasting and fastest growing fish in the sea, all to benefit the Marathon Jaycees. Call (305) 743-3434.

June 16-17
in Key West

Swordfish Event of the Key West Fishing Tournament Series
Anglers are to vie to achieve the most releases of swordfish during this overnight tournament. Click here.

June 17-22
in Islamorada

Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament
Fly rodders are to compete to catch and release giant tarpon during their annual migration through the Keys. The event raises money for children's charities in the Keys. Call (305) 664-2444.

June 17-19
in Key West

Fifth Annual Mercury/IGFA Junior Angler World Championship Tournament
Children ages 5 to 16 are to compete in this all-release championship after winning one of over 30 qualifying fishing tournaments. The young anglers fish for 23 eligible species. Call (954) 927-2628.

June 22-23
in Key West

Cuban American Heritage Festival
The culture and customs of Key West's Cuban immigrants are to be celebrated with a Friday-night conga line down Duval Street and a cigar dinner Saturday night. Call (305) 295-9665

June 22-24
in Marathon

Burdines Waterfront Dolphin and Blackfin Tuna Tournament
Anglers are to target two of the finest tasting fish in the Keys in an event named for a popular local restaurant. Call (305) 743-5317.

June 22-24
in Key West

Key West Gator Club Dolphin Derby
Anglers are to compete to catch dolphin fish, a plentiful summertime treat off the Keys, to raise money for college scholarships. Call (305) 296-7511.

June 29-30
in Key Largo

Original Ladies Dolphin Tournament
Anglers are to pursue dolphin fish with social events planned for the "Big Top" at Harry Harris Park. Call (305) 394-1895.

June 30
in Key West

Tropical Fruit Fiesta
This free, family-friendly event is designed for tropical fruit lovers of all ages. Highlights include presentations by tropical fruit experts, tropical fruit for sampling, a children's area with activities, top-quality fruit trees for sale and more. Click here.

July 14
in Big Pine &
the Lower Keys

23rd Annual Underwater Music Festival
A quirky concert broadcast underwater for divers, snorkelers and the occasional mermaid emphasizes reef preservation. The submerged songfest, organized by U.S. 1 Radio, is held at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Click here.

July 17-22
in Key West

Hemingway Days Festival
This 27th annual event celebrates the legendary author's work and lifestyle. Highlights include literary readings, a short story competition, a museum exhibit, a marlin fishing tournament and the Sloppy Joe's Look-Alike Contest. Call (305) 296-2388 (Look-Alike events); (305) 294-0320 (literary events).

August 11
in Key West

The island celebrates the opening of the annual lobster season with offerings ranging from appetizers to full dinners from 16 local restaurants. Click here.

Oct. 19-28
in Key West

Fantasy Fest
Key West's outrageous 10-day costuming and masking celebration includes gala costume competitions, promenades, street fairs and a grand parade featuring lavish floats. Click here.

Vol. 3, No. 7
May 2007

Photo by Mike Hentz
Lloyd Mager has been leading bike tours in Key West for 17 years.

Bike Tour Offers Off-the-Beaten-Path Insights on Key West and Island Life

by Carol Shaughnessy
Florida Keys News Bureau

Lloyd Mager holds up a fluted, pink-lined conch shell. "It's my shell phone," he announces. "I can call long distances with it."

Raising it to his lips, he blows the introductory notes of a complex classical melody before replacing the shell in his bike basket, where it rests next to a coconut and a well-worn machete. Hopping on his fat-tired cycle, he gestures for his audience to mount their rental bikes — and Lloyd's Tropical Bike Tour of Key West begins.

For 17 years, Mager has offered two-wheel tours of the island city, introducing participants to the winding lanes, historic Conch architecture, tropical fruits and flowers, hidden gardens and pocket parks most visitors never see.

Mager enjoys coconut water during a tour.
It's a world he discovered 35 years ago, when he ventured south from New Jersey to visit his brother, abandoned his car and embraced the casual island lifestyle. Now he shares it with visitors — not as an impersonal tour guide, but as a local inviting new friends to explore his home.

"There's a huge history behind my tours, and a love of Key West that runs deep," said Mager.

Tours last approximately two hours and encompass four to five miles of easy pedaling along flat island byways. The pace is meandering, comfortable enough for kids or sedentary adults.

During the ride, participants inhale the fragrance of blossoms Mager picks for them, taste exotic fruits like Barbados cherry from a tiny park next to the picturesque Key West Cemetery, visit Nancy's Secret Garden — a miniature rainforest inhabited by tropical birds — and discover the meditative private Medicine Garden.

Along the way, Mager produces the coconut and cleaves it in half with his machete, encouraging cyclists to try the sweet coconut water and meat. Their unique flavor is a perfect match for the flavor of the tour itself.

Cost is $35 per person including bike rental. For more information, visit www.LloydsTropicalBikeTour.com. For tour times and reservations, call (305) 294-1882.

A sand castle is built at a previous Florida Keys Island Festival.

Islamorada Festival to Include Keys Cuisine and Olympic-Style Games

Two days of fun and games, great food, arts and crafts, and entertainment are to fill Founders Park, mile marker 87 bayside, during the 16th annual Florida Keys Island Festival, Taste of Islamorada and newly created Islamorada Games. The festivities are slated for Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20.

Recording star Janie Fricke, who has been named the Country Music Association's female vocalist of the year and Academy of Country Music female vocalist of the year, is to headline two days of live music.

Victor Leong is to build an enormous sand castle on the beach, while his assistant gives lessons to aspiring sand sculptors. The festival also features an expanded and juried arts and crafts area.

A doggie fun zone, featuring an amusement park fit for canines, is to operate in the dog park.

Local chefs are to prepare their signature dishes as they compete for awards for best entrée, dessert, appetizer and other delights during Sunday's Taste of Islamorada.

Janie Fricke is to headline two days of music at the Island Festival.
For the first time, the festival is to be complemented by the Islamorada Games, a unique two-day event that features fun-filled Olympic-style competition for kids and families — as well as an exhibition by current and past Olympians including 10-time medalist Gary Hall Jr.

The games are to be held in parallel (Olympic style) over the two days of Island Fest. Competitors can sign up for softball, soccer, tennis, skateboarding, distance and sprint runs, relays, kayaking, beach volleyball, tug of war and ultimate Frisbee.

The climactic "closing ceremony" of the games is to be the Rubber Ducky Race, set for Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on the beach at Founders Park.

For more information on the Florida Keys Island Festival and Taste of Islamorada, contact the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at (305) 664-4503 or (800) 322-5397. For details on the Islamorada Games, call (305) 852-3588.

Yellow Air Taxi uses nine-passenger Cessna 402c aircraft.

Yellow Air Taxi Debuts Key West Routes

Travelers can now fly between Naples, Fla., and Key West; and Fort Lauderdale and Key West, aboard Yellow Air Taxi nine-passenger Cessna 402c aircraft. Like popular taxicabs, the planes' exterior is yellow with black and white checkered trim.

Yellow Air Taxi offers three round-trip flights per day Thursdays through Mondays between Naples Municipal Airport and Key West International Airport. Between Fort Lauderdale International Airport and Key West, two round-trip flights per day are scheduled Thursdays through Mondays.

Flight time on both routes is approximately 45 minutes each way.

One-way fares to each destination start at $99, plus taxes and fees.

For schedules and reservation information, call 1-888-YELLOW-4 (1-888-935-5694) or visit www.flyyellowairtaxi.com.

Key West Symposium to Explore Truman's Environmental Legacy

During Harry S. Truman's 1945-1953 presidency, he spent 175 days at the Key West residence that became known worldwide as his "Little White House." Friday and Saturday, June 8-9, the Little White House is to be the headquarters of the fifth annual Truman Legacy Symposium recognizing the enduring contributions of America's 33rd president.

The 2007 symposium is to focus on Truman's environmental legacy including his 1947 dedication of Everglades National Park, recognized as a national treasure.

Keynote speakers are to be former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman; and columnist Michael Grunwald of "The Washington Post," author of "The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida and the Politics of Paradise."

Truman grandson Clifton Truman Daniel, other Truman family members, former presidential staff members and Truman scholars are to appear as well.

For more information, visit www.trumansymposium.com or call (305) 294-9911.

For more travel information on the Florida Keys:

Home | Fishing | Diving & Snorkeling | Arts & Culture | Weddings
Florida Keys Tourist Development Council
1201 White Street, Key West FL 33040

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