CARNIVAL & CONCERTS HIGHLIGHT A PACKED UPPER KEYS WEEKEND

A carnival-goer climbs the rock wall during the first Key Largo School Carnival on March 5, 2022. KEYS WEEKLY FILE PHOTO

Upper Keys residents and visitors can expect some tunes and plenty of family fun in the coming days. A music series begins in Islamorada, while a carnival returns to Key Largo. And don’t forget the Florida Keys’ premier boat show returning to Islamorada. Meanwhile, a local band sails into Key Largo with some musical guests. 

MISHKA KICKS OFF BEATS ON THE BAY

Islamorada’s Beats on the Bay music series kicks off on Friday, Jan. 20 at Founders Park Amphitheater with Bermudian singer-songwriter Mishka. This free concert begins at 6:30 p.m. Mishka is an iTunes best new artist in the singer-songwriter category. His lyrics and sound are deep reflections of the reggae roots soul and Caribbean culture. He’s shared the stage with Jimmy Buffet, The Wailers and Julian Marley, to name a few. The concert goes until 9:30 p.m. Food, drinks, art vendors and lawn games will also be available. 

BOAT SHOW COMES TO ISLAMORADA

Set for Friday-Sunday, Jan. 20-22, dealers from the Keys and South Florida will make their way to the sportfishing capital of the world. Local boat dealers will be joined at the Island Community Church grounds, Mile Marker 83.4, bayside, by marine-related businesses and various nonprofits. Attendees can view some of the newest boats on the market and check out fishing seminars, as well as see some local artwork. There will also be food trucks and a silent auction, a raffle and more. A $10 donation (those under 18 are free) gets people in for all three days of the boat show, so bring the family and friends. 

More than 90 boats are situated on the Island Community Church’s north campus in Islamorada for the boat show. DAVID GROSS/Keys Weekly

CONCERT SAILS INTO KEY LARGO 

The Florida Keys Community Concert Band invites the public to the Saturday, Jan. 21 concert “Sailing Away to Key Largo” at the Murray Nelson Government Center’s Peace Park. Set to begin at 4 p.m., this family-friendly concert features lively pirate sea shanties and familiar Florida-themed music. The Mangrove Swamp Band will be special guests. There will even be a Conch blowing contest, so pack a picnic basket and a blanket or chairs, load up the family and fur babies for this hour-long musical treat. 

CARNIVAL RETURNS TO KEY LARGO 

Key Largo School’s second annual Carnival is bringing back the kid’s rides, music, food and more on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Key Largo School, Mile Marker 104.8, oceanside. Open to the public, entry is $5 per person (those under 3 years old get in free). An unlimited ride bracelet is $20. This is a cash-only event. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. 

JAZZ TRIO TAKES STAGE 

The Fred Moyer Jazz Trio will take stage on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Coral Shores High School. This incredible trio of piano, bass and drums play note by note transcriptions of some of the greatest jazz ever written. Tickets can be purchased at floridakeysconcerts.com or at the door on the night of the concert.

Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.