Some time in late Oct. in the mid to early 80's one guy ask another to meet him down on Duval Street. when they met the one ask the other what he saw, and his answer was: nothing. Few tourists walking around, many of the shops closed. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, and the sun shining. The two men agreed they needed something to draw the tourists to KW in late Oct. There was very little going on in KW back then, most, or a lot of the shop owners closed their doors and took their vacations at this time because business was so slow.
Thus Fantasy Fest was started, and today it is a 10 day event that has transformed into one of the busiest time of the year for everyone around KW. It starts off with Goombay, and ends up with the fat lady singing, and the parade on Saturday being the highlight. The party bounces from one business to another from day to day, each one hosting some kind of event, and the people dress for the event.
Fantasy Fest is geared for adults, with a lot of people walking the streets going from one party to another, or one bar to another, dressed for the theme, or maybe a theme from past events. Many artists set up paint booths to paint themes using people as their canvas. Although it is illegal for people to walk around with paint being the only thing covering their bodies, it is accepted.
If you happen to be lucky enough to be in KW the last week in Oct. don't be surprised if you happen to see a woman walking the sidewalks with her skin being the canvas for an elaborate painting. Some even get enough liquid courage to forget about getting the paint applied. The guys also get bold during the festivities, but something about men showing their genitals doesn't go over too well with the police, so the men have to cover that area.
The parade we saw last night took about three hours from the time the first police escort passed us until the last entree walked by. This years theme was Habitat for Insanity, which opened the doors for a wide variety of floats. I am not one to stand three hours to watch a parade, but this one was interesting enough for me to withstand the pain of standing for such a long time, and I sure was glad that trash container was there for me to lean on.
After the parade Duval Street turns into a big street party, but since we are not into bar hopping or getting drunk down town, we walked to Mallory Square and rested quietly watching the water. If you are interested in seeing pictures I'm sure a search on the net will show all you want to see. (Our cameras were in the rig.)
Us having all our plans written on the "etch-a-sketch" I don't know if we will return for next years Fantasy Fest, but it is written on there right now.
Honoring The Pioneers
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