The first Fantasy Fest was held in 1979 when two local businessmen, Tony Falcone and the late Bill Conkle, organized a party to stimulate business. Fantasy Fest has boosted the economy on Key West by filling up hotels, local bars and restaurants during this time period. The number of people that join this festival every year ranges from 25,000 to 75,000. The event has escalated to a ten day celebration that includes balls, a parade, costume competitions, AIDS fundraisers, body painting, drag queen contests, costume parties, alcohol, and pet and neighborhood parades for the whole family. Fantasy Fest has grown to rival New Orleans ‘ Mardi Gras as an event drawing out of towners.