KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — The Upper Florida Keys are to showcase their “conch” spirit during the third annual Key Largo Conch Republic Days set for Wednesday, April 27, through Sunday, May 1.

Kicking off the celebration overflowing with frivolity, fun and feasting is a planned raising of the flag — symbolizing Key Largo as the Northernmost Territories of the Florida Keys and the Keys chain’s status as the independent Conch Republic. The republic was formed when the Keys “seceded” from the United States to protest a 1982 Border Patrol blockade at the head of the island chain. A re-enactment of that proclamation of secession is planned.

The festival’s day and evening events are to take place at area restaurants, businesses and entertainment venues. Specials on conch dishes at participating Key Largo restaurants are to be featured throughout the event.

Planned highlights include a music festival, By-Land-or-Sea Poker Run and progressive wine dinner. Offbeat contests are to range from “Is Your Pet a Conch?” to a High Heel-a-thon and a world–record attempt at conch shell blowing.

Attendees also can vote for their favorite Key Largo person, place or thing during a playful “Cream of the Conch Republic Northernmost Territories” contest. One vote per person can be cast in advance or during the event at www.keylargoconchrepublicdays.com. Winners are to be announced Thursday, April 28, at Snapper’s, located at mile marker 94.

The celebration concludes Sunday, May 1, with the ceremonial (and symbolic) “destruction” of the Jewfish Creek Bridge that leads to the South Florida mainland. Dancing, music, food and drink specials are to round out the festival finale.

Event information: www.keylargoconchrepublicdays.com

Key Largo visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keylargo or 800-822-1088

Social: www.facebook.com/floridakeysandkeywesttwitter.com/thefloridakeyswww.YouTube.com/FloridaKeysTV

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