The annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest, sponsored by Old Island Restoration Foundation, celebrates the historic importance of the conch in the Keys. Free and open to children and adults of all ages, the Contest will be held March 7, at the Oldest House, 322 Duval Street.
Watch enthusiastic contestants pucker up and demonstrate their shell-blowing talents. Sometimes called the Conch Honk, there is no cost to enter or to compete, and no experience is necessary. Conch shells are available for purchase for those who do not have their own.
This annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest celebrates the historic importance of the conch in the Keys, where the far-reaching sounds from conch shells were used by the Calusa Indians for communication, by sailors as fog horns, and by early Key West citizens to signal salvagers that a sinking ship was spotted offshore. The conch itself, a sturdy sea mollusk, is deeply entwined in the Key West’s heritage and tradition. As well as savoring conch meat in fritters and chowder, native-born islanders proudly call themselves Conchs (pronounced “Konk”). Their island home is known as the Conch Republic. Entrants are judged on the quality, duration and loudness, and novelty of the sound they produce. Mercifully, for most contestants, musical ability is not a requirement. The winners take home trophies; ribbons are awarded to those who take second place.