27 December 2018
KEY WEST, Fla. — A New Year’s Eve “drop” saluting Key West’s heritage as the birthplace of Pan American Airways is to be staged Monday, Dec. 31, in the garden of the airline’s first ticket office.
As an offbeat takeoff on the traditional ball drop in New York’s Times Square, the midnight “flight” of a uniformed “stewardess” in a section of a replica aircraft is to take place at First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery, 301 Whitehead St.
Pan Am’s official beginning dates back to October 1927, when its inaugural flight soared from Key West to Havana carrying sacks of mail. The building that housed Pan Am’s ticket office on the Key West waterfront was later relocated and today is part of First Flight.
In recognition of that colorful history, First Flight is pairing the uniformed stewardess' descent in the replica plane with a “Roaring 20s Great Gatsby” gala that celebrates the era of Pan Am’s birth. Attendees are encouraged to wear Gatsby-esque finery.
The evening’s attractions are to include endless champagne, chef-manned food stations, live music and DJ performances, and authentic Pan Am giveaways.
For information and ticketing, visit firstflightkw.com.
While the First Flight “drop” is the latest, Key West is well known for its New Year’s Eve parodies of the Times Square ball drop.
Visitors can ring in 2019 with the 26th annual “conch shell drop” at Sloppy Joe's Bar, 201 Duval St.; the descent of a super-sized red high-heel shoe carrying world-famous drag queen Sushi at the Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House complex, 724 Duval St.; the lowering of a pirate wench from atop a tall ship’s mast at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St.; or the splashdown of a huge replica Key lime wedge into a larger-than-life margarita glass at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, 0 Duval St.
For information about the respective events, visit sloppyjoes.com, bourbonstpub.com, schoonerwharf.com and facebook.com/SunsetPierKeyWest/.
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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