About 40 years ago, on April 23, 1982, the city of Key West seceded from the United States. Although the Conch Republic was a micronation for a very short time, there is still a 10-day-long celebration taking place this year.
The reason that Key West and the Florida Keys succeeded and formed the Conch Republic was that the United States Border Patrol set up a blockade at the top of the Florida Keys to control the mass amount of drugs coming into the Keys. As that news spread across the country, people started to cancel reservations, and since tourism is a big market in the Keys, local residents were not pleased. So, the soon-to-be members of the Conch Republic made history and went up to the federal courthouse in Miami where the secession was officially announced by the Mayor. When they got back to the Keys, the next day, Mayor Dennis Wardlow held a rebellion that lasted about one minute. After that historical minute, the United States Navy Admiral decided to surrender.
Still to this day, people remember the event by attacking a United States Coast Guard boat with water hoses and toilet paper. Those celebrations start April 21st at Mallory Square with the blowing of the sacred conch shell. Then, a kick-off party will start at the popular Schooner Wharf Bar, “the official party headquarters,” which will include conch-blowing contests. The big event, the reenactment, will be on April 23rd, 2023 at 12:00 pm in the Key West Harbor. The event can be viewed from Mallory Square or a boat on the outer perimeter of the area.
The celebration is a good way to remember some of the history of Key West. Despite the party being filled with more festivities and joy, it is a way for the people to remember. Additionally it is a good way for tourists and visitors to experience the Conch Republic spirit the short time they are in town.