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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Monday, November 04, 2019

Pre-Parade 2019

October 27, 2019




Elle and Kristyn

Pre-Parade 2019

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Fantasy Fest in Key West, of which I have attended or participated in 30 times or about 75 percent of the total. These have been some of the most enjoyable moments of the years that I have lived in Key West. About five years ago, I was pretty much over the entire thing, the 10 day festival had devolved into a fairly disgusting display of raunchiness, nudity, sex and boorish behavior that had changed the beloved festival of creativity and fun into something that I felt truly demeaned our island community.


I was so disgusted and outraged that I wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspapers, copied the city commissioners and festival organizers tearing into what the festival had become. Thankfully those organizers, who had pretty much been mailing it in every year as things went downhill, were soon to resign and a wonderful, new creative team took over the leadership and organization of Fantasy Fest and immediately set about righting the ship.

Turning away from the swinger cruise ship and other x-rated sponsors and events, they aimed to recapture the former glory of the event with a renewed focus on creativity, inclusiveness and while still maintaining an adult edge, becoming less graphic and disgusting. I have to report that they have in a large part achieved their goals.



Nowhere is this more apparent than in the preparations for the culminating event of the festival, The Bud Light Fantasy Fest Parade. The very fact that the parade is sponsored by Bud Light, a large successful corporate sponsor , rather than some minor adult-oriented swinger cruise line that most had never heard of is significant in and of itself. Not only that, this year’s forty-seven parade entries, was not overwhelmed by rented drivable pirate ships populated by naked people, but instead by fantastic, creative, artistic, local entries that brought much of what had been missing previously.

The vibe in the staging area was excited and fun and the creativity and simply stunning creations of local parade builders, marching groups and single person entries was something to behold. It was obvious early on that this year was going to be a return to form for the Fantasy Fest parade, one that was quickly becoming something of an afterthought until the new organizers got onboard.

Rich and Penny

It was an absolute pleasure walking around and seeing so many friends and fun people as they made their final preparations to get the parade going. The parade had traditionally been the highlight of the entire schedule, but had sadly in recent years been eclipsed by events earlier in the week like the Zombie Bike Ride, Tutu Party and Masquerade March. This year, building upon the work of the new team, the parade has resumed its position at the top of the chart as the highlight of the week.



I stayed in the staging area as long as I could because I love it so much, before making my way over to the official media area, where I had been assigned to take float photos. The well-lighted area of Duval Street in front of the La Concha Hotel is reserved for TV and camera crews and I joined my motley crew of fellow photogs in waiting for the parade to arrive.

Dominique the Cat Man


They had a fun surprise for the masses waiting this year as the cast of the Rocky Horror Show at the Waterfront, rolled up Duval Street in advance of the official parade, stopping to perform musical numbers along the way to get the massive crowd warmed up for the fun to follow.


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