a group of men holding trays of food
From pie-eating contests and cocktail competitions, to culinary experiences and a 5K run, the annual Key Lime Festival celebrates the Keys’ favorite citrus fruit July 3-7. CONTRIBUTED

Fans of sweet and tart Key lime pie can salute the Florida Keys’ signature dessert and the tiny fruit that inspired it Wednesday through Sunday, July 3-7, during the annual Key Lime Festival. Events include a Key lime pie-eating contest, “limey” dining delights, a wacky Key lime pie drop, pie-making classes and culinary and cocktail tastings.

Believed to have originated in Key West in the late 1800s, Key lime pie was designated Florida’s official pie in 2006 by the state legislature. Its primary ingredients are condensed milk, egg yolks and the juice of the tiny yellow Key lime, with the creamy filling typically nestled in a graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream or meringue.

The Key Lime Festival’s official kickoff is set for Wednesday, July 3, at 5 p.m., featuring author and festival co-founder David Sloan, who wrote “The Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook.” The event is scheduled at the Curry Mansion, 511 Caroline St., whose kitchen is renowned as the pie’s birthplace.

The World Famous Key Lime Pie Eating Championship is set for Thursday, July 4, outside the Southernmost Beach Café, 1405 Duval St. Entrants must attempt to devour an entire 9-inch pie, topped with mountains of whipped cream, in the fastest time – without using their hands.

the key lime festival logo

The free-to-watch beachfront competition is paired with family-friendly games and a Key Lime Vendor Village featuring lime-inspired wares ranging from local art and jewelry to beauty products. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the contest takes place at 1:30 p.m.

Friday’s highlights include the Key Lime Sip & Stroll cocktail sampling, a Key Lime Bike Tour, a tasting of locally distilled Key lime rum – and even a fundraising bash where local notables just might get a pie in the face.

The quirky Key Lime Pie Drop headlines Saturday’s events. Scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the competition challenges entrants to craft contraptions to hold and protect miniature pies – and then drop their creations from atop the Key West Lighthouse, 938 Whitehead St., without damaging the pie. While few pies land unscathed each year, the free-admission contest typically draws hundreds of spectators to watch the fun.

Other scheduled attractions include a Key lime tree cultivation master class, 5k run, daily lime-infused culinary experiences, a pool party, a historical presentation on Key limes and the pie they inspired, a “Hot Wheels” race and the annual Key Lime Pie Hop. The latter, offered multiple times Sunday, July 7, takes foodies on a stroll to sample five variations of the famed dessert.More information and a full schedule are at