Key Largo Conch Republic Days
In 1982, the United States Border Patrol set up a roadblock and inspection point on US 1 just north of the merger of Monroe County Road 905A/Miami-Dade County Road 905A onto US 1 (they are the only two roads connecting the Florida Keys with the mainland), in front of the Last Chance Saloon just south of Florida City. Vehicles were stopped and searched for narcotics and illegal immigrants. This act resulted in the Florida Keys seceding from the Union and becoming the Conch Republic.
In 1991 Kohlbenheyer read in the Miami Herald of the events of 1982 and in typical Keys and Howard style he decided that this was a great excuse for a party – only in the Keys!
“We started with a symbolic ‘Blowing up of the Bridge’ to celebrate our separation from the Mainland” said Kohlbenheyer “and every year since we have continued this tradition. We also roll back our prices to 1982 for the entire week. The locals love it and our visitors soon caught on” Kohlbenheyer said.
In 2009 the Upper Keys Business Group decided to expand the celebration to include other restaurants and bar locations and numerous zany happenings. For those looking for a true 'Conch' experience this exciting 5 day festival is most definitely worth a visit to Key Largo the 'Northernmost Territories' of the legendary Conch Republic!