27 October 2017

KEY WEST, Fla. – Revelers in huge, lavish masks and headdresses -- some towering far higher than their wearers -- made “headlines” at Key West's Headdress Ball, a highlight of the 10-day Fantasy Fest costuming and masking festival that ends Sunday, Oct. 29. 

Many competitors in Thursday night’s event wore headdresses adorned with exotic feathers, offbeat accessories and even moving parts.

The winning entry was Randal Lair’s gigantic “Alice in Wonderland”-inspired ensemble incorporating a white rabbit, large-scale purple mushrooms and lush colorful flowers. Longtime competitor Virginia Wark took second place in a headdress that featured whirling visionary timepieces, in keeping with Fantasy Fest’s 2017 theme of “Time Travel Unravels.”

Despite being judged only on their masks and headdresses, many contestants were costumed from head to toe. The “over-the-top” event, organized by the Key West Business Guild, also included performances by female impersonator Randy Roberts and other entertainers.

Upcoming Fantasy Fest highlights include a masquerade march that begins at the local cemetery and Saturday night's elaborate parade through Key West's historic downtown. 

Large crowds are expected for the festival’s final weekend, but Florida Keys tourism officials say a few hotel rooms are still available in Key West and in other parts of the Keys. They stress that reservations are necessary to ensure accommodations.

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