From beachside fireworks to takeoffs on the traditional ball drop in New York’s Times Square, the Florida Keys offer visitors a wealth of ways to welcome 2018.
Four celebrations in Key West, all slated for the night of Dec. 31, are to be staged as lighthearted Keys versions of the Times Square festivities, including one featuring the drop of a female impersonator in a spangled super-sized red high-heel shoe.
Drag queen Sushi takes center stage at the annual celebration at the Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House complex at 724 Duval St. Just before midnight, a dazzlingly gowned and coiffed Sushi, riding in the red shoe, is to be lowered from the balcony of the complex to the cheers from the crowds below.
A street-side stage is to feature performances by local and national notables. Street viewing is free. For VIP balcony tickets, visit bourbonstpub.com/newyearseve.html.
Also in Key West, revelers can welcome 2018 with a conch-shell drop at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St.; the lowering of a pirate wench from atop a tall ship’s mast at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St.; and the splash-down of a huge replica Key lime wedge into a larger-than-life margarita glass at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, 0 Duval St. For more information on the respective events, visit sloppyjoes.com, schoonerwharf.com or facebook.com/SunsetPierKeyWest/.
At the head of the Keys island chain in Key Largo, a fireworks display over Blackwater Sound is to ring in the new year at midnight Dec. 31. The annual New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza is hosted by Sundowners, Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill, Señor Frijoles, Cactus Jack’s, Gus’s Grille at the Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort and the Caribbean Club, all great viewing spots for the colorful display and all located around mile markers 103 and 104. Visit keylargofireworks.com.
Midnight fireworks also are on the menu at the Morada Bay Beach Cafe at mile marker 81.6 bayside, which is to host a large beach party with live music, a beach barbecue, cocktails and performers, all culminating in a dazzling display of fireworks. Visit moradabay.com/full-moon-party/.