Quick The Conch Shell Blowing Contest Could Claim Another Victim!
photo courtesy of komonews.com
If you are thinking of entering the Conch Shell Blowing contest then you are certainly going to need a lot of puff.
Otherwise known as the “Conch Honk” this is on of the hugely enjoyable Florida Keys special events that occurs in March each year.
So what do you need to do, you may be thinking? It’s quite simple.
Have you ever picked up a trumpet or a musical instrument that you have just watched someone play with amazing ease, and upon your lips it makes a sound like you have just tried to blow up a cow’s back passage?
Well don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of similar noises as contestants take the stage and try to make the loudest, longest or even the funniest sounds they can from blowing into a sea-shell.
The faces that people pull as their cheeks go bright red veins pop out on their foreheads, and the tiniest squeaks like a mouse with a sore throat emanates from their efforts.
It is a free event, if you have your own shell, but if like us you turn up empty handed then they can be purchased.
Become An Expert On All Things "Conch" With Our Great Guides On Eating One, Finding One and The Conch Republic Too
The yearly contest may seem just a bit of silly fun, but it actually is a celebration of how the conch has helped shape the history of the keys, right up to the current date.
Right in the very beginning the Calusa Indians used the sounds made from the shells as a way to communicate with each other.
With a sound like a large duck being squeezed, its not a surprise to know that sailors used the shell as fog horns, and the early Key West citizens to alert those people who made their living from salvaging that a ship was in trouble offshore.
The conch itself, a sturdy sea mollusc, is deeply entwined in the history and strange traditions of Key West.
It's not just when the conch meat is added to the ingredients for pure Florida Keys conch fritters and delicious bowls of chowder, the islander that were born in the Florida Keys like to use the word Conch as a description, e.g "Hey don't mess with us Conchs.
Although you don't say it with a soft ending, instead it is a hard "k" sound more like - Konk.
And it is with that moniker that Key West and the whole Florida Keys , decided to call themselves the Conch Republic as you can read more on here.
Makes sense really.
But getting back to the contest, thankfully, for most of the people who turn up and compete the fact that they have no obvious musical talent doesn't seem to cause any problems.
The winners of the competition get a lovely trophy to take home and place on a shelf somewhere, whilst those coming second get a ribbon.
image courtesy of eventful.com
Address: Sunset Pier at Ocean Key House, Duval Street, Key West