15:06 PM

Bed Race to Roll Down Key West’s Famed Duval Street for Charity

KEY WEST, Florida Keys The annual Conch Republic Blue Ribbon Bed Race, billed as “the most fun you can have in bed with your clothes on” is to wake up crowds in Key West Saturday, April 27, during the 42nd annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration.

The colorful competition, an eagerly anticipated highlight of the April 19-28 festival, is to feature decorated wheel-mounted beds, each propelled along the famed Duval Street between Olivia and Southard streets. A team of four runners, some in outlandish costumes, is to race each decked-out bed while one fortunate rider lounges aboard.

Events are slated to begin at 1 p.m. with registration, lineup and inspection of the whimsical beds. A parade of beds is to follow and the race is set to kick off at 3 p.m.

Rules call for teams of “strange bedfellows” to attempt to outpace their rivals to earn first-place, second-place and people’s choice awards. An awards ceremony is scheduled at 6 p.m.

The zany competition is a fundraiser for the local Sister Season Fund. The organization provides financial assistance to hospitality- and tourism-related industry employees who are temporarily out of work because of situations including illness and accident. Since the charity’s inception in 2005, it has helped thousands of residents who are integral to Key West’s workforce.

Entry fee is $200 per team with proceeds to benefit Sister Season. Viewing the challenge is free of charge.

The wacky race is typically among the most popular events of the annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration. The 10-day festival commemorates the Florida Keys’ symbolic 1982 secession from the United States, carried out to protest a U.S. Border Patrol blockade of the island chain, and formation of the independent republic.

The schedule also includes the so-called “World’s Longest Parade” that proceeds along Duval Street from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, a pirate-themed ball and a sea skirmish featuring tall ships.

Bed Race information: sisterseason.com/2024-bed-races.html  

Conch Republic Independence Celebration information: conchrepublic.com/events/

Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or gaykeywestfl.com

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