On Saturday, April 16, during the annual Conch Republic Independence Anniversary Celebration (more commonly known by locals as the Conch Republic Days), drag queens will gather on the 700 block of Duval Street for the Conch Republic Drag Race. Held on the appropriately nicknamed “main drag” at the heart of the island’s LGBTQ entertainment district, this playful parody of auto racing will have queens swapping high-speed cars for high-heeled shoes while sprinting along an improvised racetrack.
Presented by the Petronia St. Neighborhood Association and headquartered outside the Bourbon St. Pub, the zany race is to begin with a test run at 2 p.m. followed by qualifying heats and finals.
The traditional auto-racing atmosphere is to be spoofed by organizers dressed as “pit crew” with checkered flags while a local DJ blares the roar of revving engines.
The event’s main attraction, however, is the gaggle of dudes looking like ladies, all decked out in daringly short dresses, full makeup and teased wigs dashing down the pavement faster than their rivals while trying to avoid wipeouts, twisted heels and other wardrobe malfunctions.
Racers typically must navigate an obstacle course of tires and various other street hazards as spectators cheer for their favorites. The “dragsters” also get a diva-style ride along Duval Street in shopping-cart “hot rods” propelled by local male dancers.
Race registration is free for all contestants willing to don the required towering heels and eccentric drag attire.
Note: Our stay in Key West was sponsored by the Equator Resort and some activities and meals were partially covered by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. Rest assured the views and opinions expressed in this post are 100% our own and we would never sacrifice our integrity for a sponsorship.