AMATEUR DRAG PAGEANT RAISES MORE THAN $25K FOR KEY WEST WOMEN’S SHELTER

Chalk the evening of May 10 up as yet another of those “only in Key West” experiences.

The Key West Weekly’s own Britt Myers emceed — and donned a dress — for  the inaugural Miss Island Queen amateur drag extravaganza. The event was organized and produced by his better half, Kirby Myers, owner of Kirby’s Closet boutique and a dedicated board member of Samuel’s House, which offers safe and sober support services and housing for women and intact families impacted by abuse, addiction, homelessness, incarceration or all of the above.

Always a great sport, Key West restaurateur Bill Lay (aka Cuban Missile Crisis), struts his stuff in drag to help the women of Samuel’s House. STEPHANIE MITCHELL/Keys Weekly

Key West Theater hosted the event that raised more than $25,000 in one night for Samuel’s House.

The Key West Weekly’s own Britt Myers, right, steps out in style with his wife Kirby Myers, who organized the Island Queen amateur drag pageant to benefit Samuel’s House women’s shelter. STEPHANIE MITCHELL/Keys Weekly

The event included “drag tutoring” by seasoned pros to help the amateurs look and perform their best. Talent acts included comedy routines, songs and dance. The audience voted with their donations for the evening’s winner. Key West performer and local personality Erin McKenna, aka “Hugh Janus,” bested Bill Lay, co-owner of La Trattoria, La Trattoria Oceanside, Benihana and Virgilio’s martini bar, by about $24.

The show also included Britt Myers’ trademark and well-timed “zingers” that kept good-natured audience members on their toes all night. The Keys Weekly’s own horoscope writer and astrologist Chris McNulty, who co-founded Queer Keys for LGBTQ youth, also strapped on some heels to help the worthy cause. 

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.