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Key West Food and Wine Festival Serves Up Fun in January

How about this for a good time: You could become this year's Shrimp King.

I know, I know -- it sounds like a name fit for a bad comic book villain. But it's actually the title bestowed on the winner of the Key West Food and Wine Festival's Seafood Shakedown contest, part of a massive, three-day festival celebrating food and spirits on the southernmost tip.

The festival, running from January 27 to 30, is the second incarnation of the world-class foodie event (it also comes just a few weeks after the Key West Literary Seminar, which will host esteemed food writers like Jonathan Gold, Gael Greene, and Ruth Reichl).

Just like the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, the KWFWF will be

broken down into a series of events taking place across three days. The

segmented presentation makes it easy to pick and choose which events

you want to attend. Really hungry shrimp fans can sign up for a weekend

pass ($395 per person) that includes VIP access to a whole host of

events throughout the festival.

If the prospect of watching a new Shrimp King get crowned isn't enough

to entice you, here's a brief rundown of some of the festival's other

key events.

Barefoot Beach Party

- January 27, 5 to 7 p.m. Enjoy island cuisine, wine, music, and flip-flops (optional!) as you overlook the Florida Straits. $35.

Vines & Violins

- January 28, 5 to 10 p.m. This grand wine- and food-tasting takes place

in Harry Truman's Little White House before moving to the Tennessee

Williams Theatre to watch the Key West Symphony Orchestra perform.

$140, $95 for tasting only.

Key West Shrimp Boil - January 29, noon to 2 p.m. Take a trip back to old Florida with this rustic party sponsored by Hogfish Bar & Grill. $38.

Duval Uncorked

- January 29, 4 to 7 p.m. Travel up and down legendary Duval Street as

you sample more than a mile of wine and spirits plus food from local

restaurants. $65.

Seafood Shakedown

- January 30, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Watch as contestants vie for the title

of Shrimp King (or Queen) by showcasing the flavors of local Florida

pink shrimp. Onlookers will get to sample each dish and vote for a

winner. $20.

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John Linn

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