New Year’s Eve partiers unwilling to endure cold-weather festivities, such as the traditional “ball drop” in New York’s Times Square, can find exuberant celebrations and far warmer temperatures in the Florida Keys.
Key West revelers can choose from several lighthearted takeoffs on the Times Square gala as midnight approaches on Friday, Dec. 31.
At the Bourbon Street Pub/New Orleans House complex, 724 Duval St., renowned female impersonator Sushi stars in the “Red Shoe Drop” for the 24th year. Seconds before midnight, a super-sized red high heel carrying the elaborately gowned Sushi will be lowered from the complex’s balcony toward the cheering crowd below.
As well as Sushi’s lively banter before the “drop,” spectators can enjoy performances by notable female impersonators and other local and national talents on a street-side stage.
Street viewing of the entertainment and “drop” is free and open to the public.
Party people on lower Duval Street can watch the “drop” of a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, on the roof of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St. As a huge clock counts down the seconds to midnight, the supersized shell begins to descend.
In the Key West Historic Seaport, New Year’s Eve merriment is centered around the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St., and celebrates the island’s colorful seafaring heritage. Just before midnight a “pirate wench” is lowered from the top of a majestic tall ship’s mast — completing her descent as the clock strikes and cannons boom to welcome 2022.
At the waterfront Ocean Key Resort & Spa, 0 Duval St., plans call for a huge replica of a Key lime wedge to splash down into a larger-than-life margarita glass on the property’s Sunset Pier at midnight. The event, with only 125 tickets available, features live entertainment by The Beatle Band as well as dancing, a superpremium open bar and butler-passed appetizers.
New Year’s Eve festivities also are planned at the original home of Pan American World Airways featuring the midnight “flight” of a “stewardess” in a replica Pan Am aircraft. Today called First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery, the building now located at 301 Whitehead St. was the place where Pan Am’s first tickets were sold in 1927. While the festivities outlined here are New Year’s Eve highlights in the Florida Keys, a current roster of Keys holiday activities and other special events can be viewed at fla-keys.com/calendar/.