Second Annual 'Captain Tony Days' in Key West August 8th-11th!

By: Gary McKechnie


Key West made its reputation as a haven for interesting characters, and one of the most memorable was ‘Captain Tony’ Tarracino who was best known for being a charterboat captain, gambler, reputed gunrunner, pals with Ernest Hemingway, and mayor of Key West from 1989 to 1991. He also lent his name to Captain Tony’s Saloon (428 Greene Street) where a struggling singer named Jimmy Buffett tapped into a fictional utopia called Margaritaville.

Captain Tony passed away in 2008 at the age of 92, but as one of the island’s most colorful characters he inspired Buffett to write ‘Last Mango in Paris’ and, more recently, inspired some folks to create ‘Captain Tony Days’ to celebrate the famed Conch.

I had a chance to meet him a while back and it was great to make that connection to Key West history. This will be the event’s second year and it takes place Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 8-11, starting with a Captain Tony Trivia challenge at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon on Wednesday, a showing of the documentary ‘Captain Tony’s Key West’ on Thursday, and on Friday comes the ‘Faces of Captain Tony’ art show and sale followed by a celebration of his birthday at his eponymous bar that evening.

Stick around. On Saturday during the Lobsterfest street fair, members of his family will be at a special booth to say hello to the captain’s fans and share stories of this larger-than-life personality.

Quite a place. Quite a person. Check it out at this special facebook page and you’ll find more information on Key West at or call 800-LAST-KEY (527-8539).

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