The zany competition, a highly-anticipated highlight of the April 15-24 celebration, is to feature decorated wheel-mounted beds, each trundled down Key West’s famed Duval Street from Olivia to Southard streets. A team of four runners, some in offbeat costumes, is to propel each decked-out bed while one lucky rider lounges aboard.
Events are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. with registration, lineup and inspection of the festive beds. A parade of beds is to follow, and the race is set to kick off at 3 p.m.
The “strange bedfellows” attempt to outpace their rivals to earn first-place, second-place and people’s choice awards among others. An awards ceremony is scheduled at 6 p.m. at the Bourbon St. Pub’s Garden Bar at 724 Duval St.
The bed race is a fundraiser for the local Sister Season Fund. The organization provides financial assistance to hospitality- and tourism-related employees who are temporarily out of work because of illness, accident or a natural disaster. Since the charity’s inception in 2005, it has raised $1 million and helped thousands of residents who are integral to Key West’s workforce.
Race organizers have waived the usual entry fee this year, so both entering and viewing the challenge are free of charge.
The wacky competition 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 Keys, 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 sailing race that recalls the Florida Keys’ maritime heritage.
Bed Race information: sisterseason.com/2022-bed-races.html; race team contacts are
Brad Buckholts at 561-319-3223 or Julie Hanson at 305-304-9828
Conch Republic Independence Celebration information: conchrepublic.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or gaykeywestfl.com
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