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Video source: Florida Keys News Bureau
KEY WEST, Fla. -- Fantasy Fest begins Friday in Key West, with a full-scale, 10-day slate of events for the first time since the worldwide coronavirus pandemic curtailed large-scale festivals and gatherings.
“Due to the COVID pandemic, this will be the first full Fantasy Fest since 2019,” said Steve Robbins, the festival’s board chair. “So of course we’re very excited, and I know that our guests and staff are excited about getting back to the real Fantasy Fest.”
The costuming and masking celebration features several dozen masquerade parties and costume contests, many benefiting local charities and all culminating in a lavish grand parade that typically draws some 60,000 spectators.
Event standouts include the weekend’s Goombay street party in Bahama Village, Sunday evening’s family-friendly Zombie Bike Ride, a costume contest for pets, the exotic Headdress Ball and a high-spirited masquerade march in Key West’s Old Town.
Next Saturday night, Oct. 29, Fantasy Fest's highlight parade is to travel through the island’s historic downtown as crowds applaud elaborately costumed marching groups, street dancers and lavishly decorated motorized floats.
Fantasy Fest was established more than 40 years ago to increase tourism during the lull between summer and winter seasons. It has grown into the Florida Keys’ biggest event, accounting for some $40 million in annual economic impact to the island chain.