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