KEY WEST, Florida Keys — One of North America’s largest gatherings of LGBTQ women is to take place Sept. 6-10 in Key West, featuring vibrant festivities that only the welcoming island city can offer. Womenfest 2023 is to feature an exhilarating lineup of activities and parties designed to cater to virtually every girl’s desires.
With a history dating back more than 20 years, the festival is sponsored this year by Olivia Travel and strives to foster camaraderie between like-minded women, while also showcasing the attributes that make Key West an internationally acclaimed lesbian and gay vacation destination.
“Key West Womenfest and Olivia Travel share a common mission of empowering LGBTQ women by providing them with affirming spaces to promote visibility, celebrate their identities, and form meaningful connections with one another,” said festival organizer Fritzie Estimond of the Key West Business Guild.
“It's important more than ever to support women’s spaces and events, and keep them relevant,” Estimond said. “Womenfest has grown to be a standard for celebrating all women ages 21 and over.”
Festivities begin Wednesday, Sept. 6, with a 6 p.m. welcome party hosted by Alexander’s Guesthouse, 1118 Fleming St., featuring an open bar, small bites and live music from Keys entertainer Marjory Lee.
Thursday’s fun is to start with the Ultimate Beach Bash and Cornhole Tournament, set for noon at Lagerheads on Simonton Beach, 0 Simonton St.
The day’s other attractions include the “Women, Words & Art Poetry Reading and Art Exhibition” at The Little Room Jazz Club, 821 Duval St.; a sunset sail aboard the luxury vessel Argo Navis, featuring libations, gourmet appetizers and live music by the Jessica Wachs Duo; and the star-studded 2023 debut of “The Girly Burly Burlesque Show” at the Key West Theater, 512 Eaton St.
Among Friday’s highlights are a clothing-optional sandbar and snorkel trip on the Blu Q catamaran; an alt-rock concert featuring Marjory Lee and the Misspellings at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, 4 Charles St.; and the fancifully named “50 Shades of Pink” dance party at Mangoes, 700 Duval St., with DJ Blondie spinning tunes.
Festival attendees can explore Key West and learn about the island’s influential women Saturday morning on a fun-filled Key Lime Bike Tour. The day also features multiple parties and the festival’s performance highlight: an all-welcome concert starring Sarah Potenza and Tonya Boyd-Cannon, who have both competed on television’s “The Voice” and released critically acclaimed musical offerings. The show is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Key West Theater.
Womenfest participants can end their weekend the “Key West way” with two island city traditions slated for Sunday. The adults-only Mangoes Sunday Drag Brunch starts at noon, combining stellar entertainment and delicious brunch options. And no one should miss the original Sunday Tea Dance at La Te Da, 1125 Duval St., with beloved DJ Rude Girl.
Womenfest information, tickets and complete schedule: gaykeywestfl.com/womenfest/