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New Year brings longtime event back to Key West

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There is never a shortage of fun in Key West no matter what time of year. Nearly 100 national, regional and Florida Keys craft artists will be showcasing their wares at the 29th annual Key West Craft Show.

In the 1800s skilled carpenters adorned Key West homes with the wooden "lace" known as gingerbread, and net-makers knitted fine fishing nets. That heritage of creativity continues Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25-26. Scheduled 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, the juried outdoor festival draws as many as 25,000 visitors each year to browse and buy. Artisans' colorful booths are set up on Whitehead and Caroline streets through the famous Presidential Gates into the Truman Annex.

All offerings are original and handmade. The eclectic items typically include pottery, glass, jewelry, woodcrafts, fabric, wearable art and even handcrafted toys to entice young attendees. As well as displaying their wares, many participants create offerings during the show, providing demonstrations of their craft.

Presented by the Key West Art Center, the oldest artists' membership organization in the Florida Keys, the free-admission craft show has been recognized by Sunshine Artist magazine as one of the top 100 shows in the United States. This show is popular with locals and tourists alike and is only one block from popular Duval Street. Proceeds help support programs of the Key West Art Center and maintain the historic 301 Front St. building that houses its Old Town gallery.

When you go

From Fort Lauderdale, the drive to Key West takes about 5 hours along the Overseas Highway. Daily nonstop flights on Silver Airways are also available from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

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