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Key West's Turtle Kraals

About Key West, Florida

Though probably the most famous small town in the world, Key West could fit inside New York�s Central Park. By celebrating its culture, history, and natural beauty, Key West has earned a spot on national and international maps alike.

Key West Inhabitants

The majority of Key West�s population of 24,832 is well-educated and heavily artistic. The native population, or "Conchs" as they refer to themselves, have culturally Key West's Sloppy Joe's Bar eclectic backgrounds, including Bahamian, Cuban, and New England. Many families have lived on Key West for over seven generations. Some of the more famous residents have been Ernest Hemingway, John Hersey, and Tennessee Williams. Key West can also boast of having been the home of more Pulitzer Prize winners per capita than any other city. Contributing to Key West�s artistic and business communities is a sizable, open, and completely accepted gay population. Here, and unlike any other city in the United States, people seem to be content with who they are. Unfairly labeled as "laid-back," residents are hard-working. And with an extremely high cost of living, it is easy to guess why. Ironically, tourism, the only real economic base of Key West, provides mainly low-paying jobs. Most residents hold two or more jobs in order to make ends meet. However, when asked to Rick's on Key West trade their hard work in for another hometown, most wouldn�t consider leaving their Key West paradise.

Early Key West

The name "Key West" was taken from the Spanish Cayo Hueso or "Island of Bones." The area achieved this name from Spanish explorers, most notably Ponce de Leon, who set foot on an island strewn with the human bones of Calusa Indians and unlucky sailors. More currently, Key West has also been given the names "The Conch Republic" and "Margaritaville," from the song by Jimmy Buffett.

Key West Culture

There are no dress codes in Key West, even for the most expensive restaurants. On this Florida island, differences in people and cultures are celebrated with the only rule being that of tolerance. A sense of celebration daily permeates the air. The Seafood Restaurant on Key West setting sun of each day is applauded with festival zeal in Key West�s Mallory Square. At this daily celebration, visitors to Key West can sip their cool drink of choice while hearing the sounds of local musicians and viewing the spectacular sunset over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Key West's Social Agenda

Key West also boasts a lengthy list of festivals on its social calendar. Some of the most famous of these festivals include various fishing tournaments, literary seminars, art festivals, premiere plays, and yacht races. However, the most famous of Key West�s celebrations is the Fantasy Festival. Akin to Mardi Gras in its party-like atmosphere, the only word to describe the air of festivity is "Anything Goes." The October Fantasy Fest lasts for ten days that hits its denouement with a costumed parade through Old Town Key West. This particular festival alone draws over 50,000 visitors.

Key West is one of the most unique areas in the United States. While so many larger and well-known cities thrive on pressure and corporate conformity, Key West celebrates its artists, businesses, and visitors in a seemingly "laid-back" atmosphere. Because of this accepting, diverse culture and gorgeous natural beauty, it is clear why so many have chosen Key West as their home.

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