Experience an Amazing Sunset Celebration in Key West

“See you at Sunset” has a special meaning down in Key West, Florida. More than a valediction, it’s an invitation to Sunset Celebration, a spontaneous celebration as jugglers, tourists, clowns, fishermen, psychics, island musicians, artists, food vendors, friends, and thousands of tourist gather each night to celebrate the close of another day in Paradise. This art festival takes place nightly at Mallory Square Dock in Key West, Florida.

KEY WESTIt begins each night around two hours before sunset as masses of people flock to the water’s edge to experience a multicultural happening and to watch the sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico. When the sun finally sinks into the ocean it does so to applause and legend has it that Tennessee Williams initiated the ritual of applauding the sunset at Mallory Square, gin and tonic firmly in hand.

Fun Fact: Mallory Square has a long history as being a center of activity in Key West. Once the chosen anchorage of pirates, it later became the base for anti-pirate campaigns orchestrated by Commodore Porter in the 1800’s. Mallory Square has also been the center of the wrecking industry and the assembling point of American forces for four wars.

Sunset celebration, Mallory Square, Key West, Florida Keys, Florida USAIt’s said that Sunset Celebration took of in the late 1960’s in the hands of carefree gypsies. There were about 30-40 regulars who would come down to the pier each night and get high on LSD. They claimed they were watching Atlantis arise from the clouds at sunset. Thankfully by the 70’s and 80’s the festival had taken a clean turn, turning into a flea market type celebration, but it was still less than legal as vending on the dock was not allowed. It was when merchants began to complain that the City of Key West stepped on. Thanks to a group of citizens forming a legal entity called the Key West Cultural Preservation Society, Inc. (a not for profit corporation) in 1984 Sunset Celebration was preserved.  

Also read:  The Royal Cup Cafe

Today, Sunset Celebration is an internationally known attraction that supports a cottage industry in Key West. A gathering point for talented artists from around the world. For more information, visit the official Sunset Celebration website at http://www.sunsetcelebration.org/.

40 thoughts on “Experience an Amazing Sunset Celebration in Key West”

  1. oh, that is right up my alley! I wish I could come to that, because it sounds like so much fun!! Another item on the “don’t miss list” in case I’m ever in that area :)

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  2. What a fun celebration. I would love to see Key West and experience a fun celebration while learning a bit of history.

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  3. I’d love to visit Key West during the sunset ceremony. I’m glad the celebration is ..shall we say “cleaner” now than it was in decades past. Key West looks like such a beautiful place.

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  4. My husbands family had a home in the Keys for a long time. I’ve heard so many stories about this wonderful place.

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  5. The sunset at Mallory never gets old. I’ve been sitting there watching the sun go down for about 30 years and it’s always just as wonderful!

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  6. That looks like so much fun! I have always wanted to go to Key West. When I finally make it there, I will be sure not to miss out on the sunset celebration.

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  7. That sounds amazing. If I ever make it to Key West in the summer, I hope to make it to Sunset Celebration. Entertainment and shopping sounds about perfect!

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  8. Sounds like a nice place to go to see all of this.I will remember this for when we visit and maybe i will get to see it.

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  9. my brother serves down there with the Coast Guard and he’s always attending the festival. He tells us about and takes pictures of the “cat guy” who does tricks with his cats.

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  10. The last vacation my husband and I took before he passed away was in Key West. I do remember the amazing sunsets. It holds special memories for me

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  11. With this polar vortex that’s supposed to be hitting this week, I sure wouldn’t mind a trip somewhere warm on the beach!

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  12. I think it would be cool to see the Sunset Celebration. We lived in Palm Beach for a long, long time and never went to Key West. I kick myself repeatedly for it now that we have moved.

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  13. I had no idea the history associated wit the sunset celebration at Key West. So glad it took that clean turn.

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  14. We love to travel, have been to Florida several times, but have never been to Key West. It looks marvelous from your photos!

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  15. What a fun little lesson! I had no about about that. I love flea markets, but I think visiting gypsies would have been pretty fun too! Minus the LSD part. haha

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  16. Not only beautiful and gorgeous but I love to learn the history of places. So fascinating. Great photography as well.

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