Preserving a bit of Key West color and history, Old Island holds this annual celebration at the Oldest House, 322 Duval Street. The next contest will be held on March 2, 2019 at the Oldest House, and is open to children and adults of all ages.
This annual Contest celebrates the historic importance of the conch in the Keys, where the far-reaching sounds from conch shells were used by the Calusa Indians for communication, by sailors as fog horns, and by early Key West citizens to signal salvagers that a sinking ship was spotted offshore. The conch itself, a sturdy sea mollusk, is deeply entwined in the Key West’s heritage and tradition. As well as savoring conch meat in fritters and chowder, native-born islanders proudly call themselves Conchs (pronounced “Konk”). Their island home is known as the Conch Republic. Entrants are judged on the quality, duration and loudness, and novelty of the sound they produce. Mercifully, for most contestants, musical ability is not a requirement. The winners take home trophies; ribbons are awarded to those who take second place.
OIRF’s 56th annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest was held in the garden of the Oldest House on March 3, 2018, to a standing-room only crowd, and was emceed by Lea Fox of US 1 Radio. The participants included four college students on spring break, Santa Claus and an on-stage marriage proposal.
The next Conch Shell Blowing Contest will be March 2, 2019 at the Oldest House, 322 Duval Street, Key West.