KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Revelers can enjoy more than 50 costume contests, masquerades, parties and performances during Key West’s Fantasy Fest, the renowned masking and costuming festival happening now through Oct. 31.
Nearly two months ago, organizers canceled the festival’s large-crowd highlights, including the iconic parade down Duval Street and the Masquerade March, to protect against the potential spread of COVID-19 and its variants. The current schedule blends less-crowded traditional favorite events with new offerings to intrigue fantasy fans.
Standouts include the “Smallest Parade in the Universe,” a miniature version of the Fantasy Fest parade that features tiny floats traveling along an artist-crafted replica of Duval Street. The parade is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at The Studios of Key West and will be live-streamed as well.
Following the parade, floats are to be auctioned online to benefit the Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens, a Florida Keys nonprofit that provides life services for adult developmentally and intellectually disabled residents.
Throughout the festival, attendees can immerse themselves in high-energy events including Sloppy Joe’s rollicking Toga Party that dates back to Fantasy Fest’s earliest days. Hippie wannabes might head for the '60s throwback bash titled “Wharfstock” at the Schooner Wharf Bar, while “island girls” can strut their stuff at the Homemade Bikini Contest at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon. And body painting fans can compete in the Living Art Expo, where the human form becomes the canvas, at Ocean Key Resort’s Sunset Pier.
Theatrical showcases include “Harriette Potter and the Enchanted Tassel,” a “spellbinding” look at Harry Potter’s world presented by Key West Burlesque at the Key West Theater, and the cult musical “The Rocky Horror Show” blending horror and hilarity at the Waterfront Playhouse.
Among new events is the inaugural Fantasy Fest Bar Masquerade, a tour providing participants who hold “cocktail passports” the chance to show off their festival finery and savor libations at 11 watering holes.
Theatrical showcases include 'Harriette Potter and the Enchanted Tassel,' a 'spellbinding' look at Harry Potter’s world presented by Key West Burlesque at the Key West Theater.