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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!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Prelude to Fantasy Fest

October 18, 2019

Bonnie, Kathy and Gae

Melissa and Tracy


Prelude to Fantasy Fest

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the biggest and best event of the year in Key West, the annual 10 day series of events and parties that is known as Fantasy Fest. This will be my 29th straight year participating in some manner and in the past few years, serving as one of the group of event photographers, I have witnessed the exciting turnaround from a festival that had declined to a point that a lot of it was fairly disgusting quite frankly to what is now back on track to the fun and creative celebration that we once had. 

Lea and Erika


In fact it seems not just back, but bigger and better than ever as the enthusiasm, creative elements and people, major sponsors and overall vibe is as good as it has ever been in the 29 years that I have attended. It has gotten so big and expanded so much that it is literally bursting at the seams and events are literally spilling outside the traditional 10 day time period that began with Goombay Festival. 



Goombay starts today and I have already been to a number of the estimated 40 events that I will be attending over the course of the next very hectic ten days. Things got started with a meeting that Kathy and I attended by the float builders for the lead float in this year’s big Fantasy Fest parade. The group led by artist Christine Fifer and including about 80 people is designing Mozart’s Orchestra to lead things off and they held their final meeting this week at the Studios of Key West after having been working on the float since July. 


Kathy has had a great time working on her costume and the float with this group and they should be an awesome way to start the parade off. After attending the meeting, we were off to the Pier House to attend a fundraiser put on by the Key West Zonta Club, of which our friend Bonnie recently became President. 

Zonta models 


They hosted a fashion show with models who all were breast cancer survivors to raise money and awareness for the cause. It was a fun event on the Pier House beach and our friends and wedding band the Prime Movers provided the entertainment in addition to the fashion element. We had a number of friends both in attendance and serving as the models, who each shared their inspirational stories of surviving and beating breast cancer.



Thursday evening there were a pair of Fantasy Fest related events that I attended, the first was a Fantasy Fest Royal Retrospective at the Customs House that featured a historical display of the history of Fantasy Fest, in particular the King and Queen, who are crowned each year based upon the amount of money they raise for AH Monroe, the local AIDS charity. 

The exhibit was fantastic and an interesting walk back into the history of the event. The official posters from every year were on display and there was all sorts of memorabilia from the years of Fantasy Fest royalty. Many of the past Kings and Queens were on hand, including our good friend Nadene who still holds the record for most money raised during a royal campaign. 


Nest it was off to another fun, fundraising event, the annual Brazaar Bra Auction to raise money for Womankind. This fantastic, sold-out event was held once again at the Key West Theater and the date was moved from the Monday during Fantasy Fest week to the Thursday before Goombay this year to not conflict so much with other Fantasy Fest events. This meant I got to stay and watch the entire event rather than just do a quick pass through as in previous years.



Bras are created and decorated by local artists, modeled by local models and auctioned off to the highest bidder as part of a fun evening of laughs and entertainment that had a circus theme this year. The bras averaged selling for about $400 though some went much higher, so I think the charity did pretty well as far as raising money and it was a nice evening all around.


Erika and Colleen

with Effie