Upcoming LGBT Festival Highlights Connection Between Key West And Cuba

From September 7-13, the rich relationship between Key West and Cuba will come into the spotlight during the LGBT Art and Cultural Revolution.

For the first three days, attendees can participate in activities that explore the Cuban-influenced heritage of Key West, which welcomed its Cuban neighbors as early as 1831 with its first cigar factory. By the end of the century, Key West was home to almost 150 factories and produced around 100 million hand-rolled cigars per year.

The celebration will kick off with the Papa’s Pilar Rum Opening Night Reception at the newly restored distillery featuring handcrafted rum, international food, and live music. Over the rest of the weekend, participants can enjoy a daily Rum and Cigar Lounge Pool Party at the festival’s Key West headquarters, the Marker Waterfront Resort.


On the afternoon of September 8, Key West art gallery and studio tours will showcase the work of the festival’s celebrated artists and locales, like the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. The same day, a gourmet Cuba libre brunch—featuring delicious Cuban dishes alongside Key West lime mojitos—will take place at the historic Casa Marina. That night, Cuban-born Martyrini headlines a drag show at the 801 Bourbon Bar on Duval Street.

On Sunday, September 10, goers can head to Cuba aboard a yacht or private plane chartered through festival-sponsor Havana Air. Once there, participants will experience Cuban art studio tours, dance performances, and dinner at a local artist’s home and gallery.

For a full rundown of events and pricing on festival packages, visit keywesttocubafest.com.

Bryan van Gorder usually writes about the places he's been or the famous people forced to talk to him.