And they’re off! Key West bed race is nothing like NASCAR

This gives you an idea of what to expect at the bed race.
This gives you an idea of what to expect at the bed race.

A huge race is coming to Key West on April 29, but it’s not NASCAR or the Volvo Ocean Race.

It’s the annual Conch Republic Red Ribbon Bed Race, which rolls through downtown as part of the 35th annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration Festival.

The competition is to feature decorated wheel-mounted beds, each launched down from Duval Street, from Fleming to Petronia streets. A team of four runners, some wearing costumes, races the decked-out beds while one rider lounges aboard each bed.

Festivities are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., with a lineup and inspection of the beds, followed by a parade showcasing the beds at 3 p.m. The race is set to kick off at 3:30 p.m. An awards ceremony with honors to be presented for first, second, third place and best themed bed, is to take place at the Bourbon Street Pub’s Garden Bar at 724 Duval St.

The Conch Republic Red Ribbon Bed Race is a fundraiser for the Florida Keys’ AIDS Help organization and one of the most popular events during the Conch Republic Independence Celebration. Entry fee for each team is $100, with proceeds to benefit the Keys charity.

The 10-day Conch Republic Independence Celebration, which runs through April 30, commemorates the Florida Keys’ 1982 symbolic secession from the United States. The Conch Republic was born to combat a U.S. Border Patrol blockade of the Keys that threatened to derail the region’s tourism-based economy.

To find out more about the bed race, call the the New Orleans House at (305) 293-9800.