KEY WEST, Florida Keys — The life of “Captain Tony” Tarracino, a legendary former Key West bar owner and one-time island mayor, is to be celebrated Aug. 11-14 with a lighthearted festival.
The inaugural Captain Tony Days events follow an Aug. 10 “birthday party” for the late captain, who died in 2008 at age 92.The party is to begin at 6 p.m. at Captain Tony’s Saloon, 428 Greene St., which was owned by Tarracino for almost 30 years.
Tarracino arrived in Key West from New Jersey in 1948 with $18 in his pocket. In the early 1960s, he purchased the Greene Street bar that became his namesake. A former charterboat captain, gambler and reputed gunrunner, he served as mayor of Key West from 1989 to 1991.
His colorful life, fictionalized in a film titled “Cuba Crossing” that starred Stuart Whitman, included marrying four times and fathering 13 children. His exploits were memorialized by renowned entertainer Jimmy Buffett in the song “Last Mango in Paris.”
Festival events are to include a rare theatrical showing of “Cuba Crossing” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, at a location to be announced.
Also Thursday, an unusual double feature will be shown at 7 p.m. at Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St. “Captain Tony’s Key West” is a documentary video produced by Key West High School students and “Crossbones” features Tarracino as an actor.
Friday, Aug. 12, features a 6-9 p.m. “Tony Tales” storytelling contest at the Chart Room Bar at the Pier House Resort, 1 Duval St.
The festival highlight, set for Saturday, Aug. 13, is to be a street fair from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the 400 block of Greene Street, adjacent to Key West’s Duval Street and the captain’s former bar.
Captain Tony Days wraps up with a Bloody Mary Farewell Party beginning at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, at Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar, 218 Duval St.
As part of the celebration, a $1,000 “life scholarship” is to be presented in Tarracino’s honor to a 2011 Key West High School graduate planning to learn from life without first attending college.
Event information: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Capt-Tony-Days/124369354303047
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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