No Direction Home

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, November 01, 2019

Masquerade March 2019

October 25, 2019

Martha and David

Masquerade March 2019

Many Key West locals prefer the annual Masquerade March or “Local’s Parade” over any other Fantasy Fest event and once you experience it, it is easy to see why. For many people this is the only Fantasy Fest event they attend, either to witness the march or to get dressed up and participate in what has to be one of the biggest costume events in the entire nation.

Thousands and thousands of people join the parade each year and it seems to just get more and more massive, while maintaining the creative excellence that it has always had as people go all out in creating their costumes for what is the most visually spectacular and fun events of the entire year in Key West. Many thousands more line the parade route to watch as the masses move past.


Kathy and Liz

The route, which after years of dividing into two directions now only follows the singular, more popular of the two, heading down Frances Street from the Frances Street entrance to the Key West Cemetery down to Fleming where it turns left and heads down to Simonton where it turns left again to Olivia where it makes a right before spilling out onto the Duval Street Fair which was in full swing.


This route takes it in front of a myriad of guest houses that act as official stops as they hand out free drinks or jello shots to the costumed revelers as they pass by. Many people also hold viewing parties both in their private homes and at various guest houses along the path.

Leigh and Matt



This is one of the few events that Kathy and I are consistently active participants in, this year dressing up as John Lennon (Kathy) and Yoko Ono (me). After enjoying the pre-party at our friend’s Scott and Wendy’s house, we may our way up to the starting area and met with our friend Gae who was dressed as Janis Joplin. One of the best things about the event and the reason that it is called by many simply the local’s parade is the vast number of island residents who participate.


We are always guaranteed to see a ton of our friends during the march, both those donning costumes and those who choose just to watch the event from the side. The costumes are a true showcase of the artistic and fun vibe that is so much a part of the Key West community. We don’t need much of an excuse to get dressed up around here, but the Masquerade March is above and beyond even the most popular events as there are just so many people who participate.

Matt and Deb

Many people kept the musical theme of Fantasy Fest in mind with many people dressed up as musical icons like Kathy and I were, we even found another set dressed as John and Yoko and more than a few dressed up as the Beatles. But sticking to the theme is not required and there were creative costuming choices to be seen everywhere.

Rosie and Kathy


For the first time in my memory, the event experienced a brief, but fairly heavy rainfall, which did not really dampen the spirits or make too much difference at all as the parade slowly made its way along the route. It took more than 2.5 hours for the slow moving procession to pass by, giving some idea as to the scope and numbers of people participating. We stopped at a couple of parties along the route to catch a drink, some food and the ever important restroom facility.

Sue and Judi

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Hitting the Homestretch

October 25, 2019

Kathy and Michael

Wendy and Scott

Gae as Janis Joplin

Hitting the Homestretch

The latter part of the Fantasy fest week in Key West has traditionally been the culmination of the build-up that has been going on through the events as the days draw closer to the final weekend. At least that is how it has traditionally been over the twenty-nine years that I have been participating in Fantasy Fest until the advent of some of the amazing early week events such as the Zombie Bike Ride and Tutu Party sort of eclipsed the thunder of the main Fantasy Fest week as the former

 organizers sort of lost their grip on the creative aspect and began pandering to a sketchier element.
With the new regime in place the latter week events have been steadily regaining their place as the preeminent Fantasy Fest events as the Masquerade March and Saturday parade have regained much of their former glory and are now back where they belong at the top of the Fantasy Fest heap and as creative and fun as they ever have been.

Nan and Mark

There are of course still a few events that I make a conscious choice not to attend, mostly those advertised as adult-only parties with tickets available on KeysTix. There is one event that I do attend every year, and which I always tell myself that I won’t be back next year, but then end up going to shoot anyway and that is the Dante’s Halos and Horns pool party.

There is nothing really wrong or really inappropriate about the party, it is by far the most popular pool party of the week, with literally thousands of attendees, many of them crammed into the Dante’s pool at the same time wearing very little. Those in attendance seem to love it and everyone is always in a great mood, but hanging out in a pool with thousands of near naked strangers just isn’t my thing, more of a personal choice than a judgement on those who seem to be having the time of their lives.


I always feel like something of a creeper being there taking photos, even though I am being paid to do so and this year I just made a quick lap around the pool before heading over to have a wonderful BBQ lunch at the Dirty Pig. I was so overwhelmed and exhausted after that that I simply opted out of attending any Fantasy Fest events on Thursday evening, skipping even perennial favorites like the Headdress Ball this year.

I was back at it on Friday when things really kick up a notch. I started off by heading down to the wonderful Street Fair on Duval Street and going to the official Fantasy Fest poster signing at Paradise Tattoo. The poster design this year was done by the amazing artist Pashur. Pashur is known for his creative body painting which he has been doing for sixteen years at Fantasy Fest and this was his first entry into designing a poster and his design was selected as the official poster this year.


This made his workplace, Paradise Tattoo the perfect venue for the poster signing, which was held there for the first time ever. It was cool as the place was busy with body painting artists at work on the busy Friday afternoon prior to the Maquerade March. I made a quick visit to pick-up a poster before heading home to get into costume myself. Kathy and I were participating in the Masquerade March once again, with me dressing up as Yoko Ono and she as John Lennon.

Kathy and Gae

Erica and Kathy

Once we were in costume we headed over to our friends Wendy and Scott’s place where they were hosting their annual pre-Masquerade March party once again after taking a couple of years off over the past two years. This party is a welcome event for us. It is fun and in a perfect location only a couple of blocks from the starting location of the March near the Key West Cemetery.


It is so nice to be able to see so many of our friends together, is their fantastic costumes prior to the hectic march itself, where you do see a lot of people, but it is so crazy and hectic that you really just see them in passing for a quick moment. Their party is the perfect kick-off to one of the best events of Fantasy Fest.

*Nick Doll photo