Saturday, October 27, 2007

Impressions of Fantasy Fest in Key West

There is a lot to see on Duval street!

I'm posting here some OLD Fantasy Fest pictures - just in case if we will have some rain tonight, I will NOT be there!

And the weather predictions are not that good.

A lot of glitter costumes in the parade

A pretty "Bird of paradise"

All the beautiful "ladies" in front of La-Te-Da

History of Fantasy Fest in Key West

First held in 1979, what began as primarily a gay party staged to add pep to the quiet days of October soon acquired a life of its own. Tony Falcone and the late Bill Conkle, owners of Fast Buck Freddie's Department Store, along with Joe Liska and Frank Romano, who owned Key West Aloe at the time, organized a party to stimulate business. The ten day celebration now includes balls, costume competitions, AIDS fundraisers, drag queen contests, costume parties, lots of drinking, as well as 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.

The highlight of Fantasy Fest is a parade featuring humorous floats, including one carrying the annually elected Conch King and Queen. In recent years, Fantasy Fest attendance has surpassed 100,000 people, or more than three times the population of the island itself.

In October 2005, the event was postponed because of devastation wrought on the island by Hurricane Wilma; instead of being held at its usual time close to Halloween, it was moved to December and celebrated just before Christmas.

The Conch King and Conch Queen are symbolic titles bestowed upon two residents of Key West, Florida selected annually during the course of Fantasy Fest. The tradition stems from the longstanding practice of locals to refer to themselves as Conchs, and jokingly to the island as though it were a separate country called the Conch Republic. The title is also a play on the name of the Queen Conch, once very common in the waters around Key West.


Goombay - a street party held in Key West's Bahama Village neighborhood.
The Royal Coronation Ball - where the Conch King and Queen are crowned.
The annual Headdress Ball.
The Pet Masquerade - a costume contest for pets.
Pretenders in Paradise - an annual costume contest.
The Masquerade March - a daytime procession through the streets of Key West.
The Street Fair.
The Fantasy Fest parade - the culmination of the festival.


Titania Starlight said...

Now I would love to see this! That would never happen in our super conservative town. :o)

Susanne in Key West said...

Hi Titania,

Key West is pretty much extreme in everything. It is a VERY gay friendly place, nowhere else you'll see so many women/women and man/man walking hand in hand...and doing other stuff together in public, like down here. And this Fantasy-Fest is similar to "Mardi-Gras" in New Orleans.:-)

Thanks for your nice comment!

Susie said...

Thag looks like a really fun festival, so colorful!

Susanne in Key West said...

Hi Susie,

yes, it is fun in all directions, a big colorful happening.
Thanks for your comment.

Bob Johnson said...

Very cool pics, and your right about a lot to see. : ))

Susanne in Key West said...

Hi Bob,

Yep...there was a lot to see, every year its crazy and fun pure! :-)

Thanks for your commenting.

peteej said...

Fantasy Fest has it has a mind of its own. If you've never been, I recommend going (with an open-mind). It's a blast.

Susanne in Key West said...

Thanks for you comment, Peteej!!!

Anna said...

Okay Susan I did not know you have that side of you, lol, just kidding, the first photo made me really laugh. But then I read your post, and all made sense. I showed it to my husband, at first he did not know what he was looking at, then just imagine me explaning, lol. Thanks for good refreshing post Susanne. Anna :)

Susanne in Key West said...

You are so welcome Anna, I'm glad I made you laugh! Fantasy fest is FUN. If you ever get the chance - next year, end of October - come down to see it! :-)

cd said...

Hi Susanne,
What are the dates of the Fantasy-Fest in 2009? By the way, i was in Switzerland 30 years ago and will be returning soon with my sons.


Susanne49 said...

Hi CD,

Fantasy fest is always end of the month October, around the 20th. You can look up some Key West websites, I'm sure you will find the right date of that event.

Thanks for commenting.


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