The iconic phrase “See you at Sunset!” has embodied the spirit and history of Key West since the nightly event took off in the late 1960s! Beginning two hours before sunset, it’s a celebration and view that has captured the love and astonishment of iconic figures from Mark Twain in the 1800s to Tennessee Williams in the late 20th century! The Key West Sunset Celebration invites everyone to partake in watching the glowing pink and red sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico horizon. The nightly festival hosts visitors from all over the world who come to take part in the magicians, jugglers, clowns, psychics, local musicians, artists, and food vendors that combine for an incredible cultural experience. It is a fusion of friends and talents that has captivated tourists and locals alike. This nightly Key West sunset party has everything any local or guest could ever hope to stumble upon. The beauty, sheer history, and pure passion of this event have been immortalized in renowned art, stories, poetry, and photography!
Sunset Celebration Performers
As far back as the early 19th century, the majesty of Key West’s famed sunsets began to be documented into the official record. Naturalist and author John Audubon wrote of them in his inimitable style but, it is said, that playwright and raconteur Tennessee Williams actually established the very first Key West Sunset Celebration by applauding the sun as it sank below the horizon. Today, as it has been for years, Mallory Square is the meeting place for these nightly festivities where locals and visitors alike salute one of nature’s wonders surrounded by performers and vendors in a wonderful show of community. Here’s what you might expect to see at our square on any given day as the sun sets:
Passionate voices strumming and singing songs with an island flair, fledgling singer/songwriters, 6-string aficionados, maybe a one-person band and sometimes a set of bagpipes. This is the soundtrack of the Key West Sunset Celebration.
Gather round, make some room, and check out the multitudes of street performers with their high-wire acts, sword swallowing, unicyclists, jugglers and, if you’re lucky, cats jumping through fiery hoops (totally safe by the way). Yep, this is as Key West as it gets!
Professional storytellers, an artform highly regarded down here in the Conch Republic, can also be found here in addition to joke-tellers, comedy troupes, mimes and all manner of performance artists.
Inspect the handmade wares of the local artist community from jewelry, painting, clothing, souvenirs and a whole lot more.Like Martin and Lewis and bagels and cream cheese, Mallory Square and Key West are virtually one and the same and wouldn’t be as great without the other. Be part of a time-honored Conch Republic tradition by attending the always wonderful Key West Sunset Celebration!