Fantasy Fest Kicks Off October 21

Fantasy Fest in Key West

Lavishly decorated floats, costumed characters, bands and elaborately garbed marching groups are to make a splash on Key West’s Duval Street Saturday, Oct. 29, during the Captain Morgan Fantasy Fest Parade. The glittering parade is the traditional highlight of the annual Fantasy Fest masking and costuming celebration, set this year for Friday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011.

Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to throng Key West’s historic downtown for the parade. Floats and costumes are to showcase the 2011 festival theme of “Aquatic Afrolic,” with organizers encouraging entrants to draw inspiration from real and imagined denizens of the deep, shipwrecked seafarers, mermaids’ mayhem and undersea worlds. Many entries typically include music, moving parts and elements that tower over the crowd.

Standouts in the 2010 parade included a "1600 Insanity Avenue" spoof of politicians' antics, a flock of giant multicolored cuckoos, a quartet of 15-foot-tall walking puppets and a devilish wedding float whose two riders were legally married during the parade.

Fantasy Fest’s 2011 pre-parade activities begin at noon Saturday with the open-air Duval Street Promenade. Promenade vendors are to offer masking and costuming finery and accessories as well as food and libations, while live entertainment adds a high-energy flair to the festival frolic.

At 7 p.m. the parade is scheduled to begin at the intersection of Southard and Whitehead streets. Floats, bands and other parade participants are to travel down Whitehead toward the Gulf of Mexico, turn onto Front Street and then proceed the mile down Duval to the Atlantic Ocean.

Event information:  Photo by Sue Swank

Fantasy Fest is relatively tame for police patrols

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - For all the alcohol, nudity and carousing that highlight Key West's annual Fantasy Fest, law enforcement officials say the 10-day festival is relatively tame. Key West Police Capt. J.R. Torres tells The Miami Herald ( ) that only a handful of violent incidents have marred the festival since 1979. Deputies from…


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