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The Florida Keys has a strange and diverse mix of eccentric characters enjoying an unconventional lifestyle in a community where bizarre individuals are celebrated and traditional culture is a world away. Sitting along the border between Gulf Stream and one of the unique marine nurseries in the world, the environment a diverse concoction of tropical islands, shallow flats and the deep ocean.

Because of its relative isolation and diverse roots, the island chain has developed a distinctive way of life that in entwined all activity. Especially interesting is Keys politics, a bizarre melange of strategy, conspiracy, trickery and scheming that cuts to the very soul of the community.

It has been said that the culture of Key West is due to the social equivalent of the Coriolis effect. It is the Coriolis effect that causes water to spin as it goes down the drain and weather systems to rotate. It is also said to influence an eclectic mix of strange character, bizarre intellects and all the other assorted nuts and fruits to travel south and west until they reach the end of the road at Key West.

These diverse cultural elements weave a colorful tapestry of creative characters who populate the island. The resulting culture is vibrant and varied and accepting of the great diversity that represents the human spirit.

The Keys are well known as a center for performing arts from dance performances such as Nutcracker Key West to theater and the Key West Symphony Orchestra. Live music performances can be found nightly in Old Town. There are many art galleries that feature sculpture, handcrafted jewelry, oil and watercolor paintings, pottery, exotic glass and a wide variety of other craftwork. There are numerous museums that portray the rich history and culture of the Keys, the environment and nature. Key West has been home to many renowned authors and that heritage creates an atmosphere in which literature thrives as demonstrated by the annual Key West Literary Seminar, an event that draws many distinguished writers to the Keys each year.

But don't think for a moment that Key West is at all pretentious about its cultural heritage. There are festivals such as Fantasy Fest and Pirates in Paradise that celebrate the adventurous spirit of the island. There are world legendary boat races for both power and sailboats. We celebrate earthly delights with food festivals, the planet with ecology festivals and natural beauty with an underwater music festival.




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The Keys are a magnet for tourists, fishermen and divers that lures over a million visitors a year. While the island chain has become more touristy and suffered from development, it also retains a charm, romance and hipness that can't be found anywhere else. Artists and writers, gays and lesbians, yachtsmen and boat bums as well as other eccentrics help to sustain an atmosphere of casual acceptance of everything from the unusual to the exotic.