Street party underneath the stars on Key West
A celebration for all ages
For 10 days straight, Key West becomes party central, and not just for adults. Every year, there are more than 50 events for both young and old. Even pets are welcome! On 28 October, pet owners have enormous fun dressing up their dogs, cats and other pets – and of course themselves. On 1 November, Bayview Park is transformed into a children’s play paradise full of fun rides, stands selling sweets and a costume competition. The evenings are more adult-oriented with parades of illuminated floats and body paint parties. The bars and clubs stay open until the early hours and the streets are packed with dancing crowds. Fantasy Fest is a party for all ages!
Parade during Fantasy Fest
Lavish floats and feathered costumes
The highlight of Fantasy Fest is the 3Wishes.com Parade, which this year will be held on 31 October. The parade moves down the famous Duval Street from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Ornate floats and revellers in lavish costumes entertain thousands of spectators. This year’s theme is ‘All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show’, with Science Fiction monsters from films such as Star Wars playing a key role. The flamboyant parade consists of more than 50 decorated floats, many up to 2 storeys high, with music and light shows. This is a spectacular show with Caribbean bands, exotic dancers and revellers dressed in colourful, feathered costumes.
Partygoers in costumes at Fantasy Fest
Coronation for charity
The festival isn’t complete without its king and queen. Every year, the ‘Conch King and Queen’ are chosen. ‘Conch’ is the original term for the native population of the Bahamas. At the end of the 19th century, many residents from the Bahamas came to Florida looking for work. A few months before the festival, people can nominate themselves to be king or queen. Nominees compete with each other to see who can collect the most funds for the AIDS fund. Those who raise the most money are crowned king and queen of the festival during a ceremony. Since 1989, almost 3 million euros have been raised for charity.