The glamorous LGBTQ gala typically features about 25 contestants showcasing their original masks, cowls, bonnets and other headgear — some measuring in inches and others soaring several feet above the participants.
Featuring a Mardi Gras flair, the event offers spectators a unique blend of entertainment and imaginative pageantry occasioned by the elaborate masks and headdresses. Creations are often decorated with feathers, baubles, unexpected appendages and sometimes even moving parts.
The ball is produced each year by the Key West Business Guild, one of the United States’ oldest LGBTQ business organizations, and serves as a major fundraiser for it.
In past years, some entrants have incorporated choreography, sound and light shows utilizing laser and LED lighting, fog machines and other elements into their presentations as they vie for cash prizes, including a first-place award of $3,000.
Although most entrants are decked out from head to toe, participants are to be judged only from the shoulders up, focusing on their headdresses.
The venue’s opening is slated for 6:30 p.m., providing opportunities for spectators to meet and photograph the headdress entrants prior to the scheduled 8 p.m. show. The spacious outdoor amphitheater is located on the western tip of Key West with views of the harbor.
Food and beverage outlets are to operate throughout the gala.
The celebrity lineup includes comedian and WGAY 105.7 FM radio personality Laurie Thibaud as emcee, with DJ and WEOW 92.7 FM radio host “Rude Girl” as sound designer.
Florida Keys performers are scheduled to offer dazzling entertainment between headdress presentations and assist contestants with their "heady" creations.
General admission tickets are $30 per person, with chair seating $35 per person and reserved tables for four people starting at $280.
Event information and ticketing link: gaykeywestfl.com/headdress-ball/
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or gaykeywestfl.com
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