54th Anniversary Conch Shell Blowing Contest

March 5, 2016 at 12:00 noon

conch-shell-2012This 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.

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