22 September 2022

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Artists and artisans around the Florida Keys are ramping up their creativity to prep for Fantasy Fest, Key West’s Oct. 21-30 masking and costuming festival capped by a lavish parade along the island’s Duval Street.

The famed 10-day extravaganza offers a showcase for costume and float designers who turn their talents to perfecting moveable or wearable creations, illustrators who translate the festival’s annual theme into poster and T-shirt designs, and even artisans who specialize in eclectic miniature creations.

The latter are to take center stage during the seventh annual “Smallest Parade in the Universe,” a cavalcade of imaginatively crafted miniature floats set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. Blending fun and fundraising, the parade is to be staged at The Studios of Key West, an arts enclave featuring a theater and gallery at 533 Eaton St.

All participating floats must be “PG-13” rated and can’t exceed 18 inches in length, width or height. But they CAN include lights, animated elements and as much creativity as their builders can muster. Fantasy Fest organizers encourage designers to draw inspiration from the festival’s 2022 theme, “Cult Classics & Cartoon Chaos.”

?Past years’ mini-float standouts have displayed super-sized portions of imagination, color and talent. They include a kinetic creation featuring Key West icons and dubbed “Vacation Mode — ON!,” an elaborate “haunted” house and an intricate coral reef scene. 

Visitors can view selected previous years’ floats during an Oct. 6-22 exhibition in The Studios of Key West’s Zabar Lobby Gallery.

Parade-night activities Oct. 22 are to be hosted by Key West comedian Gwen Filosa. Spectators can observe the tiny floats in detail as they move along a small-scale replica of Key West’s Duval Street crafted by local artist Rick Worth.

At the promenade’s conclusion, the imaginative creations will be sold at auction. Proceeds benefit the Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens, a Florida Keys nonprofit that provides life services for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Event information, prices and ticketing: thesmallestparadeintheuniverse.cominfo@thesmallestparadeintheuniverse.com or 305-294-9526, ext. 25
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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