Do locals and tourists alike need a reason to party in KW?  Are you kidding?  Does that “reason” make it easier to legitimize the over-indulgence?  Maybe, but who really needs an excuse?

Key West is a melting pot, not particularly known for its Irish heritage.  But come March 17 — Saint Patrick’s Day — everyone is Irish.  And, like every other special occasion, Key West puts its unique spin on the annual celebration.

While there is no officially sanctioned parade, there is an impromptu one, highlighting  the LGBT community and called the “Pink Paddy’s Day Parade”.  It’s essentially a pub crawl with everyone wearing pink and drag queens leading the way!  While other cities bar LGBT groups from their St. Patrick’s Day Parade (citing the religious origins of the event), Key West takes pride in its diversity — no “holier-than-thou” here!  With the Pink Paddy’s Day Parade, Key West joins San Francisco in being the only American cities with a LGBT themed St. Patrick’s Celebration. 

This year also marks the 34th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Bar Stroll.  Starting at noon at the Southernmost Beach Café (upper end of Duval Street), it proceeds from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, hitting multiple bars along Old Town’s main drag.  $30 buys a ticket for the stroll and a commemorative T-shirt that has a unique design each year.  Proceeds go to the Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Keys Area.  This is one of the locals’ most attended events, but if you’re on vacation, jump right in — they will definitely treat you as one of their own!

And if you are Irish – certifiably so or just in search of a true Irish experience while in Key West for St. Patrick’s Day — there is no substitute for Finnegan’s Wake, Key West’s only truly Irish owned and operated pub.  Authentic in every detail, it is located at the corner of Grinnell and James Streets in Old Town.  This is THE place to be on St. Patrick’s Day in Key West.  The celebration draws thousands, necessitating the intersection to be cordoned off for the event.  The beer flows freely, there is great live Irish music, and  traditional  food is served on the street because it’s nearly impossible to actually get inside.
So, come to Key West this St. Patty’s day and celebrate your “Irish” heritage in true Key West style!!!

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