Florida Keys' Conch Republic to Commemorate 'Secession' April 21-30

The Florida Keys' "Conch Republic" is set to celebrate its 41st annual "Conch Republic Days" between April 21-30. The festival, which commemorates the region's symbolic secession from the US, will feature a number of events, including a street parade and a sea battle with tall ships. The Republic's founders, including former Key West mayor Dennis Wardlow, will also reenact the 1982 ceremony that led to the area's brief independence as the "Conch Republic".

Other highlights of the 10-day event include the Great Conch Republic Drag Race, a wacky challenge featuring drag queens and intrepid men in dresses running down Duval Street wearing high heels. A specially decorated bed race will also take place along the same street. The land-based action climaxes with the World's Longest Parade on April 27, named because it starts in the Atlantic and finishes in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Great Sea Battle of the Conch Republic will take place at Key West Harbor at 7pm on Friday, April 28, with weapons ranging from water cannons to flying Cuban bread. Non-combatants can view the spectacle from Mallory Square and harborfront resorts, bars and restaurants. Landlubbers will have their moment on April 29 during a charity race featuring "strange bedfellows" piloting decorated beds on wheels along Duval Street. Other festival attractions include daily tall ship and catamaran sailing, a pirates ball, artisan extravaganzas and a sailing race.

Full details of the event are available on the website of the Conch Republic.

Conch Republic friends and fans are invited to view Race World Offshore’s inaugural 7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix, a powerboat race beside the historic Seven Mile Bridge in the Middle Keys. Racing is set for Sunday, April 30, with events to culminate in the presentation of the Conch Republic Cup. VIP spectator tickets are available at raceworldoffshore.com.