From left, Holly Enders, Iraida Diaz, Jerry Harris, Alex Makowitz, Suzi Makowitz, Bill Makowitz, Janet Harris, Nick Makowitz, Samantha Makowitz and Dulce Fontes put the props in Key West Party’s photo booth to good use.

A picture-perfect sunset over glassy waters greeted partygoers at Monroe County’s 200th anniversary celebration on May 19 at the restored Old Seven Mile Bridge.

Marathon High School’s culinary arts students served up a bevy of appetizers while drinks from Big Pine Key’s Grimal Grove and the Marathon Rotary Club wet attendees’ whistles. Crowds packed the northern side of Old Seven and toasted the sunset as they looked for a green flash with a musical backdrop from Marathon’s 79th Street Band.

The event was the latest in a series to celebrate Monroe County’s bicentennial anniversary since its July 3 founding by the Florida Territorial Legislature in 1823. Formerly spanning from Lake Okeechobee to Key West when it was the sixth county admitted into the Florida territory, the county’s current boundaries include the Florida Keys island chain and a mostly uninhabited  area of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve.

The next event in the county’s anniversary series is a Sea-to-Table event at Islamorada’s Bud N’ Mary’s Marina on Saturday, June 10 at 6:30 p.m. More information is at

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.