Key West’s wildest party is to turn political when Fantasy Fest, the island city’s outrageous annual costuming and masking festival, takes aim at America’s upcoming presidential elections. Set for 21-30 October, 2016’s festivities are themed ‘Political Voodoo & Ballot Box Barbarians.’
One of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Key West calendar, Fantasy Fest offers 10 days of masquerade balls, quirky costume contests and other delicious delights.
Fantasy Fest will begin with a Royal Coronation Ball, where the public votes to elect a king and queen of the masked madness, and will culminate in an exotic grand parade where the floats are as elaborate as candidates’ pre-election promises. Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to flock to Key West’s historic downtown for the Fantasy Fest Parade, a spectacle that typically includes feather-bedecked marching groups, Caribbean bands and enormous, lavishly decorated motorised floats.
Visitors keen to discover Key West’s Caribbean roots can enjoy a family-friendly Goombay street party in historic Bahama Village, while LGBT travellers should mark the Headdress Ball in their diary. For an original theatrical extravaganza be sure to catch a performance by Key West Burlesque and for furry fun, attend the annual Pet Masquerade – an eccentric competition that will see Re-pup-licans and Demo-cats strut their stuff on an oceanfront stage.
Other highlights include a Fantasy Fest Street Fair, when the island’s renowned Duval Street becomes a mile-long marketplace with vendors offering costumes and masks, arts and crafts, tempting food and drinks. And the Masquerade March will see bold barbarians, voodoo vixens and other costumed characters promenading through Key West’s streets.
With the grand parade falling just days before the 2016 presidential election, festival organisers expect many floats and costumes to feature a political focus – combined with the offbeat flamboyance that characterises Fantasy Fest and Key West itself.
Experience Fantasy Fest
Purely America (0844 80 444 80 / email@example.com) has seven nights in Key West from £1,849 per person. Departing on 24 October 2016, the trip includes seven nights’ accommodation at the Parrott Key Hotel & Resort, return Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to Miami and economy car hire. The price is based on two adults travelling, sharing a Garden View Room on a room-only basis.
Event information and schedule: www.fantasyfest.com
For further information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit: fla-keys.co.uk