Fantasy Fest

Fantasy Fest
Join in the fun at Fantasy Fest

Fantasy Fest is the biggest party and event of the year in Key West. A 10-day festival beginning on a Friday night with the Royal Coronation Ball where the King and Queen of Fantasy Fest are crowned, and ending with the 3-hour long parade on the following Saturday night. Similar to Mardi Gras, Fantasy Fest is truly an adult event with body painting, outlandish costumes and floats. While there is no age limitations, keep in mind that there is partial nudity, drinking and revelry, and is really not suitable for children to attend.

Fantasy Fest began in October 1978 as a way to boost tourism during one of the slowest times of the year for the Keys. It has now surpassed all expectations, turning October and the 10 days of Fantasy Fest into the busiest and most profitable time of the year for Key West. Many not-for-profit organizations benefit from this event including AIDS Help and the Florida Keys Children's Shelter.

Be prepared as you stroll around the streets with the other partygoers, as many attendees are covered in body paint, and in some cases, bare-chested. Fantasy Fest brings some of the best body paint artists from all over the world, and the body paint you will see is full of detail and imagination – truly unbelievable and creative works of art. In some cases, it is difficult to tell whether someone is actually walking around with body paint or in costume. Prices for body painting vary depending on amount of time and design.

Fantasy Fest
Key West Fantasy Fest

There is a wide variety of activities during Fantasy Fest week including Goombay, the Headdress Ball, the Pet Masquerade, the Hog's Breath Homemade Bikini contest, and the Green Parrot's Body Painting contest. Over 70,000 visitors pack Duval Street to attend the big parade on the final Saturday night. And what a parade it is! Beginning around sunset and lasting for approximately three hours, this parade is full of unique floats, bands and civic organizations with lots of beads and other goodies thrown from the parade marchers to the crowd.

There are tons of photo opportunities, so bring your camera and join in the fun! Mark your calendars to attend – it always begins on the Friday a week before Halloween week.

Fantasy Fest
Key West Fantasy Fest Parade

Fantasy Fest 2010
When: October 22 - 31, 2010
Theme: Habitat for Insanity

Hotels and Accommodations:
There are plenty of accommodations in Key West from bed and breakfasts to a few chain hotels and upscale hotels. If attending Fantasy Fest, make sure to book in advance as space is at a premium during this event. Be prepared to pay top dollar and be limited to a 5-night minimum stay. You could also stay at one of the outlying keys, but of course, the disadvantage here is the commute back and forth. There is a fair amount of public parking provided by the city that is within walking distance to Duval Street, just be sure to have a designated driver if you go for this option!

Fantasy Fest Slideshow - we do ask that you are over 18 to view this photo gallery