This autumn, party-hard Brits travelling to the Florida Keys, can expect out-of-this-world antics and outrageously freaky fun during Key West’s annual Fantasy Fest celebration. Set to take place from 23 October – 1 November following the theme ‘All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show’, the 2015 festival features 10 days of masquerade balls, creative costume contests, parties and eccentric escapades, all concluding with a grand parade on Halloween night.
Event organisers encourage participants to design floats and costumes around the festival theme with inspiration coming from sources like circus sideshows, pagan pageantry, outer-space epics or haunting Halloween tales, with creativity rewarded with float and costume prizes as well as praise from spectating Fantasy Fest crowds.
The exotic extravaganza will begin with a Royal Coronation Ball on Friday, 23 October, where a king and queen are crowned to preside over the festivities. The same weekend, Key West’s Caribbean roots are celebrated on Friday and Saturday with the family-friendly Goombay street party in historic Bahama Village. From Friday through to Tuesday, 27 October, Key West Burlesque is set to unveil ‘The Sexy Side of Star Wars’, a parody providing a sassy new spin on events in the fictional galaxy far, far away.
Subsequent festival highlights include a wacky Pet Masquerade and Parade on Wednesday, 28 October. This interstellar ‘freak show’ will see dynamic dogs, flamboyant felines, bodacious birds and other domestic animals – along with their human companions – compete for costume prizes.
On Thursday, 29 October, there will be dazzling doings that include the ‘over the top’ Headdress Ball and Sloppy Joe’s tantalizing Toga Party, both of which are festival favourites that have been presented annually for more than 30 years.
Throughout Fantasy Fest, themed parties and costume competitions are planned to entice attendees ranging from eccentric earthlings and sensational space creatures to 1920s flappers, partiers in plaid, hippie chicks, pyjama gamers, buccaneers and winsome wenches. The schedule also includes a ‘Halos & Horns’ soiree, a ‘living art’ airbrush competition, glow galas, a rocking 60s-themed pool party and the Southernmost Intergalactic Circus Costume Contest.
Key West’s renowned Duval Street becomes the ‘centre of the universe’ on Friday, 30 October, as vendors of costumes, arts and crafts, food and drinks, star in the mile-long Fantasy Fest Street Fair. In addition, the Masquerade March draws masked and costumed extra-terrestrials and freak-show fans for an exuberant walking parade.
The intergalactic insanity culminates on Saturday 31, October, Halloween night, during the 3Wishes.com Fantasy Fest Parade through Key West’s historic downtown. For this, tens of thousands of spectators converge to cheer the parade’s exotic marching groups, Caribbean bands, costumed characters and lavishly decorated motorized floats.
Take me to Fantasy Fest: Valid for travel departing 20-23 October, Bon Voyage has seven nights in the Florida Keys from £1,875 per person, based on two adults travelling. The price includes Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to Miami, convertible car hire for the duration and seven nights’ accommodation in Key West at the four-star Doubletree Hotel. To book, call 0800 316 0194 or visit www.bon-voyage.co.uk.
For further information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit www.fla-keys.co.uk