Key West Conch Shell Blowing Contest

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Get ready to pucker up for the 48th annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest, which gets underway at 1 p.m. March 6 in the tropical garden of Key West's Oldest House, 322 Duval St.

Nicknamed the Conch Honk, the lighthearted competition salutes Key West's seafaring heritage. Contestants are judged on quality, duration, loudness and novelty of the sounds they make, with trophies awarded in multiple age categories.

Details: For info on the Conch Honk, check out http://www.oirf.org/ or call the Old Island Restoration Foundation at 305-294-9501. For info on visiting Key West, call 800-527-8539 or visit http://www.fla-keys.com/.

If you go, and you are searching for a hotel to stay overnight, I highly recommend the Orchid Inn. CLICK HERE for my review and pictures.

Update MARCH 7:
and the winner is....

A sixth-generation Key Wester, who first blew a conch shell as a child, played two shells simultaneously to take top honors Saturday in the island's 48th annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest.

Clinton Curry, 36, followed his two-toned toot with a portion of composer Aram Khachaturian's Sabre Dance on a single shell, earning applause from several hundred spectators.
``The thing I like best about blowing the conch shell is that it helps preserve the culture of Key Westers,'' Curry said.

The contest drew more than 40 entrants, ranging from children to senior citizens, who were judged on the quality, novelty, duration and loudness of the sounds they produced.
The top group entry and audience favorite was a self-described ``Conchestra,'' whose 22 members performed a conch-shell accompaniment and offbeat dance to a recording of the Village People's YMCA.

The contest's youngest entrant, 6-year-old Katie Worth of Big Pine Key, won the children's division.

The fluted, pink-lined conch shell has been blown in the Florida Keys since the early 1800s, when seafaring settlers used it as a signaling device. Native-born islanders are commonly called Conchs, and the Keys are known as the Conch Republic.


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