Key West’s wildest party is to turn bipartisan when Fantasy Fest, the island’s annual costuming and masking festival, takes aim at America’s upcoming presidential elections.
Set for Oct. 21 through Oct. 30, the 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 delights. The spectacle climaxes in a huge parade whose floats are as elaborate as candidates’ pre-election promises.
Fantasy Fest is to begin with the Royal Coronation Ball Oct. 21, where the public casts votes to elect the king and queen of the masked madness. Also this weekend, Key West’s Caribbean roots are celebrated with Friday and Saturday’s family-friendly Goombay street party in historic Bahama Village.
Oct. 21 through Oct. 26, Key West Burlesque is to stage a theatrical extravaganza that incorporates costuming and production values at the Waterfront Playhouse, 310 Wall St. It’s called Peter Pan’s Adventures in Naughtyland. Tickets are $55 to $100. Show times are 8 p.m.
At 5:30 p.m. Oct. 26, the fur is to fly during the traditional Pet Masquerade. The eccentric competition is likely to include Re-pup-licans and Demo-cats as well as other canine, feline and avian critters strutting their stuff on an oceanfront stage.
Oct. 28 brings the Fantasy Fest Street Fair, when Duval Street become a mile-long marketplace with vendors offering costumes and masks, arts and crafts, food and libations. Also that night is the Masquerade March of barbarians and vixens through the streets from a starting point at the Key West Cemetery.
The pre-election action is to reach its peak Oct. 29 as tens of thousands of spectators flock downtown for the Fantasy Fest Parade. The spectacle typically includes feather-bedecked marching groups, Caribbean bands and enormous, lavishly decorated motorized floats. Since the parade falls just days before the 2016 presidential election, festival organizers expect many floats and costumes to feature a political focus — spiced with the offbeat flamboyance that characterizes Fantasy Fest and Key West itself.
For more event information, go to www.fantasyfest.com.