KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Federal budget cuts are affecting even fictional government entities in the Florida Keys.
Officials say the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester will keep the Coast Guard from participating in the annual 10-day celebration of the birth of the Conch Republic.
The Conch Republic is a tongue-in-cheek creation that dates to April 23, 1982. Keys residents claimed they were "seceding" from the U.S. to protest a Border Patrol roadblock established at the top of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway.
Coast Guard crews and vessels have been regular participants in the annual Conch Republic festivities for the last 30 years. Organizer Peter Anderson said Sunday that the April 26 naval parade will go on.
Key West-based Coast Guard officials say they hope to participate in Conch Republic events next year.