Key West to Celebrate 200th Anniversary of First Permanent Settlement

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Key West's first permanent settlement. To commemorate the event, a series of events and activities are scheduled throughout the month of March. On March 25, 1822, U.S. Navy Lt. Matthew Perry planted the American flag on the island, officially claiming it for the United States. This year, a number of events are planned to commemorate that historic event.

The highlight of the celebration will be the dedication of a time capsule at Mallory Square on March 25. The time capsule will be opened in 50 years. Key West children have also been designated as ambassadors for the celebration and will participate in various events throughout the month.

The Old Island Restoration Foundation will also host a gala on March 25 to celebrate the bicentennial. Attendees are encouraged to dress in period or "island formal" attire. The gala will include music, artifact displays, and VIP guest speakers.

The Key West Bicentennial Heritage Festival is also scheduled for March 26. The festival will include family-friendly activities, stage performances, historic talks, and a silent, eco-friendly drone fireworks display.

Additional events include a screening of the documentary "Key West: Come as You Are: 200 Years of History and Culture" and a presentation by historian Tom Hambright.

Key West's bicentennial celebration will continue throughout the year with a variety of events and activities. Baseball fans can celebrate Key West's longstanding connection to the sport by viewing the "Play Ball!" exhibit, which features 200 artist-decorated baseball bats.

The commemoration will continue in 2023, when Naval Air Station Key West celebrates the bicentennial of the 1823 establishment of the island's first naval base.