Key West's 200th Anniversary Capped by Symbolic Drone "Fireworks"

Key West is celebrating its 200th anniversary! A ceremony on Friday commemorated the date of March 25, 1822, when U.S. Navy Lt. Matthew Perry, under orders from the Navy, planted the American flag on island soil.

Weekend event highlights included a Navy color guard presentation and flag raising on Key West’s Mallory Square that symbolized Perry’s momentous act. Mayor Terri Johnston said, “What this day means to the City of Key West -- we have so many people here that are so proud of our community.”

Several hundred people attended the waterfront ceremony, which featured the filling of a granite time capsule with items that included mementos and letters from officials and schoolchildren, flags and badges, and even a commemorative bicentennial bottle of locally-distilled rum. Five Key West children were designated to be ambassadors at the island’s 250th anniversary celebration, when the time capsule is to be opened.

Senator Rick Scott placed a signed Navy cap into the time capsule, and Bahamian officials presented. The ceremony concluded with presentations by Junkanoo dancers.

Bicentennial festivities continued Saturday with a Heritage Festival at Truman Waterfront Park and a silent, eco-friendly drone fireworks display. Key West’s Custom House Museum features the “Key West 200” exhibit, chronicling the island’s colorful heritage and evolution, through early December.

Key West is a unique and special place with a rich history that is worth celebrating!