KEY WEST, Florida Keys — The Florida Keys’ sweetest treat is to be in the “limelight” Thursday through Monday, July 1-5, as fans of Key lime pie salute the island chain’s signature dessert and the tiny fruit that inspired it.
The 2021 Key Lime Festival is to include a Key lime pie–eating contest, cocktail stroll, “moveable feast” pie tasting, wacky Key lime pie “drop” and even a scavenger hunt with a limey twist. The event was conceived by Florida Keys author and pie expert David Sloan, who penned “The Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook.”
Believed to have originated in Key West in the late 1800s, Key lime pie was designated Florida’s official pie by the state legislature in 2006. Its primary ingredients are condensed milk, egg yolks and the juice of the tiny yellow Key lime, with the filling typically nestled in a graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream or meringue.
Events begin Thursday, July 1, with a 5-7 p.m. champagne reception at Key West’s historic Curry Mansion at 511 Caroline St., renowned as the pie’s actual birthplace. Attendees can meet Sloan and purchase autographed cookbooks during the event.
The festival’s undisputed highlight is the World Key Lime Pie Eating Championship set for 12:30 p.m. Sunday, July 4, at the oceanfront Southernmost Beach Cafe at 1405 Duval St. After donning safety goggles, entrants must attempt to devour an entire 9-inch pie, topped with mountains of whipped cream, faster than the competition — without using their hands.
Gravity’s effects on the creamy pie are to be tested Saturday, July 3, in a quirky competition dubbed the Key Lime Pie Drop. Entrants are tasked with dropping miniature pies from atop the Key West Lighthouse, 938 Whitehead St. — without damaging the luscious confection.
Other festival attractions include the Key Lime Cocktail Sip & Stroll, where participants can sample Key lime martinis, margaritas and other limey libations; the Key Lime Pie Hop, whose participants stroll to multiple locations to savor variations on the famed dessert; and the Key Lime Scavenger Hunt, an offbeat family-friendly challenge for teams of two to five people.
Events conclude Monday, July 5, following a delectable Key lime brunch.
Event information, registration and pricing: keylimefestival.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY