Friday, November 2, 2012

Fantasy Fest in Key West FL

Fantasy Fest is one of the largest gatherings in Key West, it started out when some of the local business men got together and decided the weather was too nice to have so many empty shops. They needed an attraction to draw tourists into KW at the end of Oct.

So Fantasy Fest was started and has turned out to be one of the busiest times in KW. How it evolved into what it is today is a mystery to me, but the shops and streets are full. Many of the bars and resorts have their own parties during that week, one has a plaid night where everyone dresses up in plaid, another one has the leather and lace, and then there is the toga party, the Irish has their party with a lot of green, there are almost always pirates running around, the pool party with the wet tee shirt contest but most forgot the tees, and then there are the ones that just dress up.

Or the ones that just get painted for their costume, and by the end of the week some don't even bother with the paint and just walk around with only bikini bottoms on. A lot of drinking goes on, Duval street is blocked off because there are so many people the sidewalks can't accommodate them all. Saturday brings the largest crowd for the parade that takes almost 2 and 1/2 hours to pass by you.
FF starts off with Goombay, which celebrates the Afrikaans's that first inhabited KW. They have all kinds of food vendors lining the street leading to Bahama Village Park where they have several bands playing. We don't eat any of the food because I have a problem with food being served where there is no running water for the vendors to wash, but I guess they sell enough that the few $$ we would spend doesn't effect them.

This year our daughter was able to come and spend a few days with us during Goombay. We showed her around and she even got to see a few "painted People", but being with dad I don't think she enjoyed it as much as if she had been with her friends. So she left Monday am and Marcia and I enjoyed a few days alone during the first part of FF.

Thursday Marcia drove to Fl Lauderdale to pick up two of her friends from KY, Beth and Kristie. With a three hour plane delay, and another couple hours delay by the police writing up a fender bender the girls didn't get back to KW until 1:30 am Friday morning.
Friday evening the four of us went down to Duval to see all the excitement, and excitement we saw. The crowd was huge, the people were dressed in all kinds of costumes. Some were painted showing off their assets, and the creativity of the artists painting them. We walked up and down Duval street enjoying the festivities.

Saturday brought the excitement of the parade, and Marcia had signed us all up to be ambassadors to the parade, which turned out to be front row seats to the parade. Yes, we were inside the barricades as the parade passed by. Our duties were to keep the parade moving at an even pace, and to keep the drunks on the other side of the barricades. Marcia and I kept picking up the beads that didn't make it across the barricades and passing them out to the crowds. You would be surprised at what some people will do for a cheap bead necklace. ( I was ). It was a fun but exhausting day for all of us.
 Sunday the "fat lady" sang at the closing ceremonies and Fantasy Fest 2012 was put into the history books. The girls did a lot of running around while I spent most of the day resting.

 Here are a few of the pictures I took during Fantasy Fest 2012. Some pictures may just show painted people so you might want to preview them before showing children.















Not everyone was dressed in a costume and there were plenty of people there only to take pictures, but almost everyone there was just there to have a good time.... I think we will see what Fantasy fest 2013 looks like next year......

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