This past weekend the Stuffed Pig, a local Marathon eatery, celebrated its 25th anniversary and hosted a fundraiser for the Grace Jones Day Care Center and School. They stepped out on a limb with a novel approach and tried something new to raise money – pig races. That’s right, pig races. It turns out farm animals in the Keys are a huge draw. Hundreds of spectators were present during each of the races. Over $21,000 was raised for a very worthy charity and these hustling hogs entertained the crowds. Prior to the event the ‘nay-sayers and pessimists’ said the idea would be a bust, the economy is too bad and people will never show up for such Tom –foolery. I think one person said “When Pigs Fly.” As it turns out, they just have to run.
When stressed-out we all look for outlets to make us laugh or take our minds off troubles and pressures of the everyday world. Acts like Red Skelton and vaudeville performances offer a certain comedic cure. There is nothing funnier then slapstick humor or a pie in the face. I for one, think we need more of this ‘out of the box’ or in this case, ‘out of the pen’ thinking.
We should be able to come up with some ongoing attractions in the Keys that put heads in beds and stimulate our local economy. Eco-tourism wise, we are doing pretty well with the various dolphin encounters, Turtle Hospital, bird and butterfly conservatories, parks and protected wetlands. The Florida Keys offer a variety of great water-related sports; some consider them the best in the world. A few more museums and aquariums spread throughout the Keys would be nice. A water park and an amusement park could be a draw for the Keys, as could an ongoing interactive theatrical show directed at tourists. I personally like pirate shows. These would all be extra incentives for people to visit the Keys. We are predominantly a tourist based economy and it is in our best interest to do everything we can to develop our businesses. With so many vacation and final destination resorts, communities and attractions around the world trying to attract the same client, it is important we continue to evolve so we can stay competitive and desirable. Looking around the world, there are some very interesting events and festivals that attract spectators and participants year after year like the annual running of the bulls in Spain, Carnival in Brazil, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Fantasy Fest in Key West. People will show up for all sorts of stuff. Medieval festivals, historical reenactments and concerts are all great draws.
Traveling abroad and vacationing in exotic, serene and beautiful places has always been desirable. The human race is constantly looking for ways to entertain themselves. In days gone past it was the gladiators at the Coliseum. Now, it’s music at the symphony, a rollercoaster at the amusement park or the pig races at the Stuffed Pig. It’s all entertainment and a great way to get away, if even for a little while.
Dream the life you live and live the life you dream.