In 2013, the inaugural Key West Key Lime Festival made its debut over Independence Day weekend. Concocted by author, ghost hunter, historian, and cuisinier David Sloan. Along with artist, all-around production designer, and Wonderdog Studios founder Marky Pierson, the event included several days of sweet, tart, and savory diversions. This included the creation of the world’s largest Key lime pie.
Now, for its 10-year anniversary, the 2023 Key Lime Festival is revving up to celebrate the world’s most sensational citrus with a mouth-watering array of festivities across the very island where Key lime pie was conceived. From June 30-July 4, lovers of the lime can indulge in a full menu of diversions. The festivities begin with an event kick-off cookbook signing and champagne reception at the Curry Mansion Inn with David Sloan. David is the author of the famous “Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook.”
Activities continue over the following days.
A Key lime scavenger hunt, delicious Key lime inspired dinner and brunch events, mini Key lime pie-making classes at the Key West Key Lime Pie Company, a Key lime pie hop, a Key lime tree master-class, and a thrilling and gravity-defying Key lime pie drop competition – from the top of the Key West Lighthouse.
Those with a taste for limey libations can then enjoy a Key lime rum tasting experience at the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery. Then a Sip & Stroll where participants get to vote on who serves up the best Key lime cocktails and margaritas from among multiple participating bars.
Fourth of July events begin early and energetically with the annual “Rotary Club of Key West 4th of July 5K.” Festivities continue into the night with the Rotary’s spectacular “Patriotic Dinner Under the Fireworks.” In the hours between the two, revelers can dive into a 4th of July pool party at Dante’s Key West Pool Bar & Restaurant, with live music and DJ jams. Or, head over to the Southernmost Beach Café where the wild World Famous Key Lime Pie Eating Championship is to take place. This year, Father Gary Delos Santos, a priest from the Archdiocese of Miami, announced he will return to defend and reclaim his previous championship title. He won in 2013 when he was a Seminarian assigned at the Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea in Key West.
The Florida Legislature made Key lime pie the official state pie in 2006.
“According to my extensive research, Key lime pie is credibly believed to have originated from the Key West kitchen of Sarah Jane Lowe Curry, aka “Aunt Sally”’ (1848-1906), said Sloan. “It’s actually more American than apple pie, which did not in fact originate in America.”
The 2023 Key Lime Festival includes numerous family-friendly activities and is presented in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council and We’ve Got the Keys. For a full calendar of events along with registration and reservation links, visit http://www.keylimefestival.com.