KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Lavishly decorated floats, costumed characters, bands and elaborately garbed marching groups are to entertain spectators Saturday, Oct. 29, during the Bud Light Fantasy Fest Parade through Key West’s historic downtown.
The exotic extravaganza is the traditional highlight of the annual Fantasy Fest costuming and masking celebration, set this year for Friday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 30. Tens of thousands of people, many of them arrayed in imaginative costumes, are expected to throng the island’s downtown streets to view the internationally recognized parade.
The procession’s floats and costumes are likely to reflect the 2022 festival theme, “Cult Classics & Cartoon Chaos,” with organizers encouraging entrants to draw inspiration from cult films and plays, iconic animated cartoons and fan-favorite classics across the entertainment realm.
Many floats each year feature music, light shows, oversized moving parts and elements that tower over spectators. Intermixed with the floats are ingenious human-powered kinetic creations and island-style dance troupes wearing dazzling sequined and feathered costumes.
Cash prizes totaling $15,000 are to be split between the most creative entries in multiple categories, with awards determined by a panel of parade-savvy judges.
The parade’s grand marshal is to be local songwriter and musician Tony Baltimore, a pop-rock innovator whose albums including “Let’s All Go Insane” have become cult classics among music lovers.
Also leading the procession will be the Fantasy Fest king and queen, crowned on the festival’s opening night to preside over the revelry. Aspiring royals earn their titles by raising funds for the Florida Keys’ A.H. of Monroe organization.
The Bud Light Fantasy Fest Parade is to begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at the intersection of Key West’s Southard and Whitehead streets. Floats, bands and costumed participants — all reflecting the event’s color, creativity and lighthearted spirit — are to travel down Whitehead toward the Gulf of Mexico, turn onto Front Street and then proceed along the island’s famed Duval Street to the Atlantic Ocean.
Event information: fantasyfest.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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