KCB celebrates 60

KCB celebrates 60

Key Colony Beach Day takes place Sunday

The City of Key Colony Beach celebrates its 60th birthday as a city at the annual Key Colony Beach Day being held Sunday, March 5. Hosted by the Key Colony Beach Community Association, more than 70 vendors will be in attendance with wares varying from artwork to the new food court area.

“Our community association fosters and encourages programs and activities in the city,” said Key Colony Beach Community Association President Gail Cortelyou, who moved to the island in 1999. “The community association gives out free-of-charge space for the event to any local non-profit who wants it, and the money we make, like from the silent auction, is reciprocated into the community.”

Last year, Key Colony Beach Community Association gave out some $8,000 to local non-profits, like Take Stock in Children, KAIR, Florida Keys SPCA, Habitat for Humanity, Grace Jones, and Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition. The group also sponsors two scholarships at Marathon High School, and helped with beautification projects around the island. This year, the association also started a popular Coconut Crawl, helps with the holiday boat parade, hosts free concerts in the park open to everyone, and more.

Pat Joseph-Becker , Key Colony Beach resident and founder of Key Colony Beach Realty, has fond memories of the event dating back to 1971. She and her late husband joined the Key Colony Beach Chamber of Commerce upon moving, which has since become the community association. “I have vivid memories of my children in the casting contests,” she said. “It’s unbelievable how much the event has grown.”

To this day, she still says her motto is “KCB is the place to be,” and the realty company will be handing out free popcorn at the event, as always.

According to an article written by Key Colony Beach’s late patriarch Charles Anderson in the early ’70s, the city was literally dredged up from the ocean to a 365-acre island. In 1957, the City of Key Colony Beach incorporated, becoming the second incorporated city in the island chain, 130 years after Key West. The 11 residents voted for incorporation unanimously, along with the island’s developer F.P. Sadowski, who was the first mayor of the city. In 1959, sales on the island topped $1.6 million. When Hurricane Donna hit in September 1960, there were only 51 structures on the island, and it took less than 90 days to clean up.

KEY COLONY BEACH DAY PADADE GRAND MARSHAL: CHET DUNN

Chet Dunn was honored this year with induction into the Key Colony Beach Hall of Fame. The awardees are honored in the hallway of Key Colony Beach’s City Hall. The award began in 1994 and is given to those who have contributed to the betterment of the city. Past KCB commissioner Tucker DeGraw doted on Dunn, saying he’s helped with hurricane clean-ups over the years, was instrumental in Key Colony Beach’s Sunset Park, helps his neighbors in need, and is a big part of the Shriners Club in the Keys. Dunn will lead the 11:30 a.m. parade Sunday. 

Key Colony Beach Day celebrates its 60th Birthday on Sunday around the grounds of city hall. Parking is head-in along 7th Street for the party, as well as in open lots by 8th Street and on Sadowski Causeway. The event starts with the Shriner Pancake Breakfast at 8 a.m., and features music all day, including the popular Blues Brothers and others, until 5 p.m.

Price of a Key Colony Beach Day BBQ ticket in 1973? $2.50 including “berrs and cokes.” 309 tickets were sold that year. *We assume berr is beer. Good ol’ typewriter days…

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