Fantasy Fest to Celebrate Florida Keys’ Bicentennial and ‘Unicorn-like’ Uniqueness
Fans of the Florida Keys’ quirky creativity and whimsical spirit can celebrate both, as well as the island chain’s 2023 bicentennial, during Key West’s annual Fantasy Fest.
An internationally renowned costuming and masking festival, Fantasy Fest is scheduled Friday, Oct. 20, through Sunday, Oct. 29. The revelry includes masquerade balls, costume competitions, glamorous galas and an over-the-top grand parade. Imaginative costuming is paramount, with the best efforts drawing acclaim and applause.
The 2023 festival is themed “Uniforms and Unicorns … 200 Years of Sailing into Fantasy” to salute the Keys’ bicentennial and that of the U.S. Navy in Key West — in addition to the islands’ “unicorn-like” individuality and mystical appeal.
Fantasy Fest organizers encourage people to embrace the theme while designing costumes and parade floats, getting inspired by mythical creatures or uniformed groups ranging from 17th-century Navy officers to superheroes, sports teams or intergalactic forces from future worlds.
The official kickoff is the two-day Goombay Festival in Key West’s Bahama Village. Held Oct. 20 and 21, Goombay pulses to a Caribbean beat with nonstop music, arts and crafts, island-style food and even a traditional Junkanoo parade.
Also Oct. 20, the Fantasy Fest king and queen are to be crowned at the Royal Coronation soiree and stage show, capping a six-week fundraising effort by candidates to benefit the Florida Keys SPCA.