Tradesman Day & Poker Run
September 21, 2011
Tradesman Day & Poker Run
Fourteen years ago in 1994, The Green Parrot Bar celebrated the installation of a permanent sculpture by Key West artist John Martini that still graces the bar and is known today more as simply the Tradesman sculpture rather than its full name, “Where’s Jimbo and Other Giants of the Building Trade”. Every year since, the bar has hosted an annual event known as Tradesmen’s Day to honor the sculpture and the hard working men and women of Key West. Drink specials, bargain priced t-shirts and souvenirs and a large collection of all manner of tradespeople from the motley to the snazzy are all hallmarks of this event.
John & Buco
In the past few years the event has added the element of a fundraiser for the Fantasy Fest King & Queen candidates who are raising money for AIDS Help as part of the competition leading to the coronation next month. This combination has added more people and a silly and diverse element to the event.
Each year, attendees can get an official Trademen ID card that is good for nothing, but is a fun collectible. I have a number of them, having been a semi-regular attendee for the past fourteen years. I even caught a glimpse of my much younger self in the video they had playing from the first one back in 1994.
The event happened to coincide this year with the first evening of the annual Poker Run motorcycle gathering that is celebrating its thirty-eighth straight year of packing the island with cycles and riders, closing Duval Street to all but motorcycle traffic and bringing around 10,000 bikers to the island for a loud, but much needed cash infusion into the island economy.
I have always enjoyed Bike Week as it is known locally, though it is pretty much concentrated to the weekend. The noise can be annoying, but it is over fairly quickly and comes as part of the price we all pay when we choose to live in a tourist destination.
Bruce, Corey & Howard
Saturday morning, I joined my buddy Bruce for breakfast at Pepe’s before we headed over to the Westin Resort to attend the first Florida Keys Maritime Heritage Symposium sponsored by the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and FKCC. The half day symposium featured presentations about shipwrecks, lighthouses and other cultural marine resources and was very interesting. Part of the presentation was about finding the slaveship Guerrero in Key Largo a project that Bruce worked on during his days at RPM Nautical.
The afternoon was spent back on Duval street checking out the many amazing bikes and the crowds that were there for the Poker Run. My friends Jim & Shawna were MCing the blindfolded trike race that was being held on the street outside of Sloppy Joe’s. The trike race involved two person teams, one blindfolded and riding the trike the other trying to guide them using voice commands only through an obstacle course. It was very amusing.