fantasy fest images

New 2017 Fantasy fest

New 2017 Fantasy fest

Introduction

New 2017 Fantasy fest

fantasy fest

History.

In 1979, October in Key West meant the dog days of a late subtropical summer. Many streets were so empty that dogs could actually be spotte dozing on the asphalt.

Happy birthday, Fantasy Fest Key West doesn’t “clown around” when it comes to producing its flamboyant annual festival and spectacular grand parade. (Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau).

New 2017 Fantasy fest

But a group of local merchants changed that when they conceived a novel way to mark Halloween, a favorite island holiday that residents celebrated with uninhibited flair a Halloween festival they dubbed Fantasy Fest.

Their 1979 event was a two-day party and a parade featuring a local woman who draped her nude metallic-painted body across the hood of a Lincoln Continental and proclaimed herself its hood ornament.

fantasy fest

Fantasy fest

After that auspicious beginning, the festival became an annual extravaganza known as the perfect place to “let it all hang out.” Organizers promoted it nationwide, and visitors began flocking to Key West each October.

Eventually it grew to 10 days international media including television weatherman Willard its often risqué costume competitions,

lavish masquerade balls and grand parade that featured fabulous floats and marching groups in bright colore finery.

A past Fantasy Fest costume contest and parade featured a wacky flock of (wait for it) poultry in motion. (Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau).

fantasy fest

Fantasy fest.

In the mid of 1990 Willard made an on air statement that locals still remember. Displaying an elaborate feathered Fantasy Fest mask live on “The Today Show,” he enthusiastically blurte, “And in Key West this week, they’re having their annual Fanny Fest.”

Whatever you call it, the festival marks its 30th birthday this year and most Key West residents can recall an offbeat Fantasy Fest incident or two. Like the time, a local celebrity and his entourage appeared in costumes satirizing then the president Bill Clinton’s Monica-mania. Or the night a “spaceman” had dire technical difficulties with his flying saucer outside Sloppy Joe’s Bar. Or the year half-naked “headhunters” invaded Duval Street.

fantasy fest

New 2017 Fantasy fest

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