Saturday, May 02, 2015

Conch Republic Independence Celebration – “A Farce to be Reckoned With”


Cudjoe Key, Florida  (high 85, low 72)


A big weather front moved through the Florida Keys a few days ago, bringing 5 inches of rain to Key West. We didn’t get that much rain but the front took the entire day to get past us.    Our site was pretty much high and dry but some of the streets in the park were pretty flooded.  the water was gone shortly though.



Last week was the annual Conch Celebration days and there were activities in Key West all week long.  If you missed the post about how Key West seceded from the Union, you can read about it HERE.   The night after the parade was the sea battle, which turned out to be a lot of fun, despite the crowd.

We got into town in time to find a parking space and get a bite to eat.  We discovered a place called  Paradise Pizza where we could get pizza by the slice.  It was good pizza, inexpensive and we didn’t overeat like we did the night before.  By the time you pay $2.50 an hour to park, it helps to have an inexpensive dinner.

The guy at the pizza place suggested we watch the parade at the Galleon Hotel.  It turned out to have a nice dockside bar with comfortable lounge chairs with a wonderful view.

Conch Republic Celebration Battle

The Galleon was on the waterfront but a good distance from Mallory Square where the nightly sunset celebration is held.

We wondered if we would miss most of the action if we stayed at the Galleon and debated if we should head down to Mallory Square. We had such a comfortable  place to sit with wonderful ocean breezes.

Al’s vote was to stay.  :)

Conch Republic Celebration Battle at the Galleon Hotel bar

The boats starting passing by right in front of us.  No crowds blocking our view.

Conch Republic Celebration Battle - Stock Island Militia

Any type of boat or watercraft could join in the battle, if you were brave enough.

Conch Republic Celebration Battle - paddleboarder

I was worried we wouldn’t see the main “battle” unless we went down to Mallory Square.  Al  was pretty happy at the Galleon, but he finally agreed to head down to Mallory Square. 

As we walked down towards Mallory, an Italian couple came up to us, and in very broken English  asked for directions to Mallory Square.  We told them to follow us and off we went.  There are so many foreign visitors in Key West. You hear Russian, Chinese, French, Italian and everything else you can think of.  Key West is getting way too popular.

Once we got to Mallory, we wondered if we had made a mistake because I don’t remember it ever being that crowded.

You could NOT see the water for the people.  Uh-oh, it looks like I messed up.  Our nice sea breeze was gone, it was HOT and crowded.

Conch Republic Celebration Battle

We finally found an area where we had a view of the waterfront.  One of the advantages of knowing the area.


This lady was sitting on the dock in front of us with her back to the action.  She had this bored look on her face and was messing on her phone the entire time. I don’ think she ever looked towards the setting sun or the “battle.”


Once the sun set and the battles were over, I couldn’t resist asking her why she didn’t enjoy the celebration.  She said that she had seen if so many times.  I wondered why she came, if all she was doing was taking up space.  I don’t care how many times you watch the sun set on Mallory Square, it’s spectacular and unique each time.  She missed a great show.

Here is what we saw. Do you think she missed anything?

Conch Republic Celebration Battle


You can see the water canons in the picture below.



The boats were passing back and forth along the waterfront.  Most had water canons, and a few had some sort of loud canons and smoke.

It looked like the Coast Guard cutter was on fire.


The Coast Guard had the definite advantage with the biggest water canons, but they were the “enemy,” so everyone was trying to get them.


There was a pretty good battle going on between the Coast Guard and the black sailboat, when this smaller yellow sailboat decided to join in. 


Next year maybe Paul and Marti can be here and get us a ride on the CG cutter?


We worried the yellow sailboat was going to get crushed. The crew got drenched for sure.




The sky started to come alive with planes and helicopters, dropping “bombs.”   (more commonly known as marine grade toilet paper)

Can you see the toilet paper in the picture below?



The squiggly things were rolls of TP.

Conch Republic Celebration Battle


As the sun started to set, I concentrated more on that than I did the battle.





A few lucky people snagged the best seat in the house, on top of the crows nest on this sailboat.





It was a fun night with a beautiful sunset.  This time of year, the sun sets behind the island.  Later on, it goes down right over the water, which is my favorite place.





The street performers were there, as always.

Playing with fire.


The coconut man


the coconut man’s supply truck


After sunset, we called it a night, but not before walking down Duval Street.

This is the Wyland gallery.  He is the artist that painted that beautiful mural I showed in a previous post.  He also painted the mural at the K-Mart in Marathon.  If you’re in Key West, be sure to go to his gallery.






and last but not least.   Someone just had to walk around with toilet paper stuck to her shoe, didn’t they?



  1. Being bat Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration is always High Energy. For a night like that it must have been over the top.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. What a fun time! Your sunset pictures are just gorgeous.

  3. Looks like it was a fun time and a beautiful sunset. Too bad that lady can't enjoy life enough to look at it!

  4. Sure is fun seeing Key West from an insider's view. That setting sun was spectacular!

  5. I thought Key West was a fun place until I saw all the violence in your pictures. Almost makes me want to cancel our visit there this month. After all, I'm a Coastie, so that makes me a marked man... ;c)


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