Sloppy Joe's will host its 18th Annual Dropping of the Conch Shell. Anything goes New Year's Eve in Key West on Duval Street. You'll find people all decked out for the midnight celebration, and folks still in their bathing suits and flip flops when the Conch Shell drops from the roof of Sloppy Joe's Bar.
(A Spicy drag queen named "Sushi" gets dropped each year)
The idea and implementation of the New Year's Eve Dropping of the Conch Shell is that of local artist Tobias McGregor. In 1993, McGregor approach Sloppy Joe's management about the New Year's Eve plan. "Before the dropping of the Conch Shell, everyone would just wonder around Duval Street, celebrating the New Year when their watches read midnight. The crowd was just not in sync," said McGregor.
The initial Conch Shell was rigged on a frame, the shell was lowered manually, and timed by watch, or by looking across the street into a window and watching the count down in Times Square on someone's TV. McGregor said, "the Queen Conch has come along way since the early years, and the crowd at the corner of Duval and Greene expects more each year."
The crowd starts to gather on the street around 10:00pm as Sloppy Joe's rooftop host entertains the crowd and everyone dances, catches beads and waits for the count down clock to begin. As midnight strikes and the Conch Shell is lowered confetti, streamers and lights will fill the sky.
BONUS LINK: Slopppy Joe's live Bar Cam.