You can freeze during the traditional New Year’s Eve “ball drop” in New York’s Times Square.
Or you can welcome 2022 someplace tropical, like the Florida Keys.
Key West revelers can choose from several lighthearted takeoffs on the Times Square gala as midnight approaches Friday, Dec. 31.
At the Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House complex, 724 Duval St., female impersonator Sushi is to star in the “Red Shoe Drop” festivities for the 24th year. Seconds before midnight, a super-sized red high heel carrying the elaborately gowned Sushi will be lowered from the complex’s balcony toward the cheering crowd below.
As well as Sushi’s lively banter prior to the “drop,” spectators can enjoy performances by notable female impersonators and other local and national talents on a street-side stage.
Street viewing of the entertainment and “drop” is free and open to the public. A limited number of tickets for a VIP balcony party overlooking the stage is offered each year; call New Orleans House Guest House at 305-293-9800 for VIP ticket availability.
Party people on lower Duval Street can watch the “drop” of a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, to the flat roof of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St. Festivities are emceed by a rooftop host and, as a huge clock counts down the seconds to midnight, the supersized shell begins to descend. Live music inside Sloppy Joe’s rounds out the revelry. Visit www.sloppyjoes.com.
In the Key West Historic Seaport, New Year’s Eve merriment is centered on the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St., and celebrates the island’s colorful seafaring heritage. Just before midnight, political correctness is out the window as a “pirate wench” is to be lowered from the top of a majestic tall ship’s mast — completing her descent as the clock strikes and cannons boom to welcome 2022. The event includes live music, dancing and festivities at the Schooner Wharf. Visit www.schoonerwharf.com.
At the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, 0 Duval St. on Key West Harbor, plans call for a huge replica of a Key lime wedge to splash down into a larger-than-life margarita glass on the property’s Sunset Pier at midnight. The event features live entertainment by The Beatle Band as well as dancing, a super-premium open bar and butler-passed appetizers. Only 125 tickets are available for the gala. For a ticketing link, visit www.facebook.com/OceanKeyResort/events/?ref=page_ internal.
New Year’s Eve festivities also are planned at the original home of Pan American World Airways featuring the midnight “flight” of a “stewardess” in a replica Pan Am aircraft. Today called First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery, the structure now at 301 Whitehead St. was the place where Pan Am’s first tickets were sold in 1927. Other attractions include a full open bar, champagne, chef-manned food stations and live music. Attendees are encouraged to wear 1920s Gatsby-era costumes. For information and ticketing, visit www.firstflightkw.com/nye.
In Marathon, the Lighthouse Grill at the Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club, 1996 Overseas Highway, is planning a midnight “Anchor Drop” from the iconic Faro Blanco lighthouse, a beacon that has guided guests to the popular resort and marina since the 1950s. Revelers can first enjoy dinner at the grill, as well as dancing and snapping shots in a photo booth, and toast the New Year with complimentary champagne. For reservations, call 305-434-9039. For information, visit ,www.facebook.com/ events/436927494701313?ref=newsfeed.
Islamorada’s Cheeca Lodge & Spa, mile marker 82 oceanside, also is staging a New Year’s Eve celebration and midnight fireworks display. Revelers can savor a multi-course gourmet dinner at the flagship Atlantic’s Edge restaurant while enjoying panoramic ocean views. Live music is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. For more information, costs and reservations (required), call 305-517-4447.
While the festivities outlined here are New Year’s Eve highlights in the Florida Keys, a roster of Keys holiday activities and other special events can be viewed at www.fla-keys.com/calendar/. ¦