John Bartus

Many people do not know that the city of Key Colony Beach, established as a city in 1957, used to have its own Chamber of Commerce. As the young city began developing as an oceanfront resort town, property sales, business development and local promotion needed an effective advocate. Their mission was “to aid in the development and reasoned growth” of the new tropical town.

Fast forward to 1991, and the Chamber realized its original purpose had been fulfilled. Commercial development in the city was complete, and the Chamber’s actions had become more community-oriented. So at the Chamber’s annual meeting in April 1991, they changed their name and mission.

The Key Colony Beach Community Association was born, and their new mission was to create “activities for beautification, security, safety and recreational enjoyment of the community.” Judging by the events and community activities the Association undertakes every year, I’d say it’s a continued mission accomplished.

Each November, the KCBCA hosts a welcome back dinner for returning snowbirds and old and new friends. Along with the Fishing and Boating Club, they put on the annual Key Colony Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Every January, people sign up for the Coconut Crawl, a bicycle-oriented pub crawl throughout the different establishments in the city. And every March, the association stages its biggest event: Key Colony Beach Day. 

This one-day event celebrates the anniversary of the incorporation of Key Colony Beach. It’s a huge event with entertainment, food, drink, fun and games, vendors and a parade. This year, KCB Day is March 5; it will take place near the golf course on 7th Street and will feature entertainment from Papa Pete, David Quick and the Rick & Dayna Band.

The association also hosts Sunday concerts in the park during season. These concerts feature the best local talent, staged at Key Colony’s beautiful waterfront Sunset Park on West Ocean Drive. Musical acts scheduled for this year include Rick & Dayna (2/19), Ericson Holt with Mick Kilgos (2/26), Bob Howard & The Ukaholics (3/12), Abstract Radio (3/19), Lady A Band (3/26), and Bob, Crystal, Patty and Joe (4/2). This is a really stellar lineup of talent, truly with something for everyone. All concerts start at 4 p.m., and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets, and refreshments. The best part: admission is free!

I have been honored the last many years to be the musical artist who gets to kick off the concert series, with this year’s performance on Sunday, Feb. 5 – the Sunday between the NFL’s  conference championships and the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the month of February is the anniversary of my first-ever performance in the Keys, at the old Holiday Inn in Marathon in February 1984. This year’s show will be my 39th anniversary concert, and I’m looking forward to this show as one of my favorite performances of the year. 

I am blessed to have a lot of friends and fans come out to these concerts, and I usually bring extra guitars and my A-game. It’s so good to see so many friends from my local gigs, as well as a great representation from the Key Colony Sunset Singers — and they’ll invite you to stay for their nightly sunset celebration. I really do look forward to this show every year, and I hope to see you there. 

Another aspect of the Key Colony Beach Community Association is that their events and activities help raise funds for a lot of local nonprofits. Some of these worthy organizations include the Florida Keys SPCA, Habitat for Humanity, KAIR, Grace Jones Day Care, Marathon High School, the Rotary Club of Marathon, the Autism Society of the Keys, and the City of Key Colony Beach. If Key Colony Beach is the Gem of the Florida Keys, the Community Association is the group that keeps it polished and beautiful.

Very few towns or cities could ever claim that their Mayor was a smokin' hot guitar player. The island city of Marathon in the Florida Keys is one of those towns. While politics is a temporary call to service, music is a life sentence. John Bartus, a more-than-four-decade full-time professional musician, singer, and songwriter, continues to raise the bar with his groundbreaking solo acoustic show. It’s easy to catch John on one of his more than 200 shows a year throughout the Keys on his Perpetual Island Tour. His CD releases include After The Storm, Keys Disease 10th Anniversary Remaster, and Live From the Florida Keys Vol. 2. John’s music is available wherever you download or stream your music.