On July 20, the Bubbas: Key West People’s Choice Awards banquet will return to the Key West Theater before an inevitable sold out crowd. The 6th annual event has evolved into much more than an awards show — raising more than $80,000 for local nonprofits, while roasting and jabbing everyone, from congressmen to the sheriff and anyone with the last name Mongelli.

Moreover, the event has taken on an identity of its own. And while some of the most memorable moments over the past five years have occurred on stage with dance offs and lip sync battles between public officials, our proudest achievement is that the Bubbas have truly evolved into a community event — meaning it now belongs to the community through your votes, national exposure for Key West businesses and of course, local support for our nonprofits (such as Wesley House, Bahama Village Music Program and Samuel’s House).

This year’s Bubbas promises to be bigger than ever, with more than 90 categories to vote on here in Key West and the surrounding areas. From your favorite slice of Key lime pie to your favorite local celebrity, you will find a category for just about every facet of life in the Southernmost City.

So without further ado, we are proud to announce the 2019 Bubbas: Key West People’s Choice Awards are upon us. Voting begins Friday, June 7 online, with sample ballots available in all upcoming Key West Weekly editions, along with our radio partners at Florida Keys Media. For more, here is a comprehensive guideline to the 2019 Bubbas Awards.

The Voting:  

Due to the magnitude and growing popularity of the Bubbas, all voting has been moved online. The voting is broken down into two stages:

  1. Nominee Voting: June 7–24. Voters are allowed to enter one choice or entry on each ballot category. Ballots will be omitted that contain any duplicated emails and/or IP addresses. After June 24 all votes will be counted to determine the top 3 in each category. Ballots will be located at keysweekly.com
  2. Finals Voting: June 28–July 12. The top 3 in each category will be placed on the finals ballot. During this phase, voters will select from the top three in each category. Voting will end at 5 p.m. ET on July 12.

The Categories

The categories are broken down into three groups. The first is Food & Drink (such as Best Martini). The second is Our Community (such as Best Place to Take the Kids) and the last category is Business (such as Best Bank).

While most of the categories have remained consistent over the past five years, we do encourage residents and supporters to submit any ideas for additional categories for consideration. These can be emailed to: [email protected] before or on June 5.

The Awards Banquet: July 20 | Key West Theater

The annual Bubbas awards banquet has become one of the hottest tickets in town. This year the event takes place on July 20 at the Key West Theater. With over 90 winners, tons of dignitaries and other community supporters looking to attend, the invite list remains selective due to seating capacity. However, there will be ticket opportunities a few days before the event and more information will be provided as the date nears.

The event has become much more than your typical awards banquet. While winners and nominees enter by red carpet, previous attendees can attest that the absurd has become the expected norm. From humorous roasts (aimed at anyone and everyone in attendance) to outlandish skits (that have involved elected officials and other hesitant community leaders) the evening promises to offer a much-needed break from partisan politics and petty differences. Instead, the night embodies One Human Family — and everyone is asked to check their ego at the door.

The Bubbas Theme:

The Bubbas theme was created to encapsulate the local feel of the event and the importance of locals choosing who and what they love most in the community. The Bubbas theme was originally hatched with humorous intentions. However, one of our favorite moments of the awards banquet is a traditional opening that includes a Top 10 “You Might Be a Bubba If…” This is significant because true locals (or Conchs) have supported this bit with submissions over the past five years — magnifying the humor and fun of the evening with homegrown anecdotes about our friends and neighbors. Here is last year’s installment:

2018 Bubbas: Top 10 Signs You Might be a Bubba if….

  1. You complained about the Marriot Beachside’s chardonnay selection during Hurricane Irma.
  2. If you lost your virginity to Virginia Panico.
  3. Your Corvette’s vanity license plate reads: FEMA
  4. One of your children was conceived on the backseat of a golf cart or during a conjugal visit on College Road.
  5. In keeping with times, the breathalyzer you use to start your car features a biodegradable straw.
  6. You have been driving without a license since 1966.
  7. You are one of the 1735 people who voted City of Key West as Best Family Business.
  8. You have at least 700 lbs of free weights in your driveway.
  9. You refer to out-of-season lobster as “spring shrimp.”
  10. You are a 10th generation fisherman whose boat hasn’t left the driveway in 8 years because you are “waiting on a part.”

Giving Back:

All proceeds and money raised at the Bubbas are donated to one of three rotating nonprofits. The Bubbas continues to support The Bahama Village Music Program, Wesley House and Samuel’s House — this year’s beneficiary. Over the past five years the Bubbas have raised over $80,000 for these vital community organizations. Money is raised through ticket sales and sponsors, which have included First State Bank, Waste Management, Niles Sales & Service, Lower Keys Medical Center, Horan & Higgins and we are proud to add the Key West Butterfly Conservatory to the list of sponsors in 2019. In addition, the Key West Theater has graciously donated its location to the Bubbas for a fifth year—which adds additional funds to the selected nonprofit.

We thank the community and supporters for participating and look forward to another incredible year. We look forward to your votes beginning on June 7 at www.keysweekly.com

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