Grab your dancing shoes and tambourines to get in on some viba-licious fun.
Comparsa Key West dance troupe leads the conga line as revelers in Cuban dress conga from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico Friday night, May 28, at 8 p.m., kicking off Key West’s 11th annual Cuban American Heritage Festival.
The weekend’s events celebrate the island city’s rich and colorful Cuban heritage continue through Sunday, May 30.
Located just 90 miles from Cuba, Key West was the site of a flourishing cigar industry in the mid to late 1800s, when the island city welcomed thousands of Cuban immigrants seeking greater personal and political freedom. The family-oriented Cuban American Heritage Festival showcases the vibrant culture and customs these individuals brought with them to Key West.
Mile-long Duval Street stretched from the ocean to the gulf, and conga celebrants keep the party moving to El Meson de Pepe, 410 Wall St. at Mallory Square, for a lively Latin dance party. And the best part? It’s FREE!
At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29, the El Meson building is to be dedicated as a historic site and receive a marker that recognizes its unique place in Key West history. The building will become a stop on the new Key West Historic Marker Tour.
The brick structure, fronting Key West Harbor, is a former warehouse constructed in the late 1800s. As well as the popular restaurant, it now is home to a cigar emporium, large-scale artwork reproduced from pieces by Cuban-American folk artist Mario Sanchez and memorabilia that recalls Key West’s Cuban heritage.
And, the festival wouldn’t be complete without a traditional domino contest, a favorite past-time throughout the Caribbean. The fun-filled challenge is set for 5:30 p.m. at 1075 Duval St. on Sunday.
Learn about the Cuban American Heritage Festival,