Fantasy Fest, Key West

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  • You NEVER know what you might see on Duval Street
    You NEVER know what you might see on...
    by TheTravelSlut
  • Kewlvis lives! (in Key West)
    Kewlvis lives! (in Key West)
    by TheTravelSlut
  • Colorful characters abound in Key West
    Colorful characters abound in Key West
    by TheTravelSlut
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    Fantasy Fest-Key West Oct. 20-29, 2006: Fantasy Fest -Key West's challenge of Mardi Gras

    by TheTravelSlut Updated Nov 23, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Travel Slut @ Fantasy Fest Key West on Monday
    4 more images

    This was the 27th annual Fantasy Fest and this year's overall theme was "Key Weird on the Dis-Oriented Express" and is always celebrated the last 2 weekends of October.

    Fantasy Fest is a 10 day celebration of Halloween and the autumn season leading into the holidays.

    Most nights have a central theme but any type of costume or dressing up is always appreciated by the participants. The main themes each night for the primary 7 nights:
    1st Saturday: Anything goes night
    1st Sunday: Pirates & wenches night
    Monday: Leather & Fetish night
    Tuesday: Plaid or some variation night
    Wednesday: Red Night
    Thursday: Toga Night
    Friday: Anything goes
    2nd Saturday: Parade Night and anything goes
    2nd Sunday: It ain't over till the fat lady sings-anything goes

    Again, bodypaint is tolerated by police (and welcomed by attendees) any night of the festival.

    Fantasy Fest is not a time nor place to bring the children or under 21 crowd. There is drinking in public, displays of various body parts, risque' costumes, and even some suggestive behavior.

    Dress Code: Bodypaint is tolerated buy the police but is technically not legal as appropriate "dress" in the streets. Public bars and restaurants during this period accept it though so wear a coverup when you are unsure.

    It is not unusual to see people parading around on Duval Street or in the various establishments wearing nothing but 100% bodypaint. It often causes "double looks" as people stare and wonder if it truly is bodypaint or just a tight bodysuit. 99.9% of the time it IS bodypaint.

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    Fantasy Fest: Fantasy Fest #8 for me in 2007

    by TheTravelSlut Updated Nov 23, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    World famous Pashur bodypaints me again @ FF
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    Key West and many of its businesses, either on or off Duval Street, participate to one degree or another in either decorating their businesses or offering specials to locals and attendees alike to get into the spirit of the weeklong festival that draws 50,000+ people to the island that normally houses 25,000.

    [Let me repeat again that Fantasy Fest is an adult-oriented event and not suitable for children except for the Pet masquerade contest where pets and masters are costumed the same. Even the parade can be R-rated some of the time].

    I can recommend Key West and Fantasy Fest having finished my 8th festival now and can say it was one of the best. This year I attended Sunday night through Friday night but missed the culmination of the event on Saturday night which features the big Parade. I usually leave Friday mornings and avoid the weekend crowds--and besides, I am usually so tired after 5 nights of partying that I need a break.

    Fantasy Fest is actually 10 days long starting the previous Friday night but really does not get going until either Sunday or Monday night when people start arriving for the week.

    There is a main theme to the entire Fest for the week and it really shows up in the Sat. nite parade however each night there is also a sub-theme to give people ideas for costumes:

    Sunday is both an anything goes or Pirate Night (I did classy wench)
    Monday is Leather & Fetish Night ( I did full black leather and vinyl)
    Tuesday is Plaid Night (I did school girl plaid)
    Weds. is Red Night ( I did regular red and then a Mickey Mouse bodypaint)
    Thurs. is Toga Night (I did the scary look instead with cat eyes & black leather)
    Friday is Anything goes ( I did sassy and classy)
    Sat. is Main theme night ( I missed it)
    Sun. is Anything goes ( I missed it also)

    See my travelogues and other nightlife & Things to do tips for more photos and information.

    Dress Code: As usual, bodypaint--total body coverage or partial, although not legal as clothing by law, is tolerated (absent complaints) and constitutes a costume even on Duval Street and even in broad daylight.

    Off Duval, coverups are required and especially out of the "Fantasy Zone" ( a 5 block or so section of Duval that is barricaded off to traffic).

    You are apt to be walking down the street though at night and have to do a double-take to wonder whether the person you just passed had bodypaint or a costume on because some of the bodypaint jobs are that good to fool you.

    Costumes of any kind are preferred on the streets and in the clubs--it shows you are not just a lurker or lookie-loo but are trying to get into the spirit of Fantasy Fest fun.

    Costumes can be as elaborate as you want or as simple as you want. There is a contest every year called Pretenders in Paradise and the top costumes compete for USD $25,000 in prize money. Many are funny, many are sexy, but all are fun to look at and/or photograph.

    [Let me repeat again that Fantasy Fest is an adult-oriented event and not suitable for children except for the Pet masquerade contest where pets and masters are costumed the same. Even the parade can be R-rated some of the time].

    Many of the costumes can't be shown here on VT but there are many websites including the main Fantasy Fest webpage that have photo galleries.

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    Fantasy Fest: Tips for 1st time attendees to Fantasy Fest

    by TheTravelSlut Updated Sep 18, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You NEVER know what you might see on Duval Street
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    Hello all FantasyFesters! Oct. 21-Oct. 20, 2011 & the theme this year is "Aquatic Afrolic".

    While I've only been 11 times, I have learned a few things at this event called "Mardi Gras on steroids"

    Clothing/Shoes: Key West is a walking town especially on and around Duval Street so comfortable, or sandals are a must. Don't walk in barefeet in case of glass and the heat.

    Toiletries & Medical Supplies: Aspirin, Tylenol, antacids, Pepto-Bismol, and Chaser Plus, insect repellent, sunscreen & aloe vera gel.

    Camping/Beach: Blanket, chair & sun protection.

    Transportation: Parking can be almost non-existent near Duval Street even if you have a reservation at the Bed & Breakfast or small motel or hotel. Don't park in a resident's zone!

    There are parking garages, meters and some free side-street parking but its expensive and limited.

    Be cautious driving on the one-way streets & watch for bicycles, pedalcabs, small electric vehicles, pedestrians.

    Key West has narrow & obscured sidewalks or side paths so watch your step.

    Be extremely careful driving as pedestrians (sometimes intoxicated, sometimes jaywalking) will walk right out in front of you.

    Be careful on the streets of bicylists and people riding scooters or Vespa's that may not be used to operating them.

    Key West's "conch train" operates on both main and side streets so give it leeway as it is lengthy.

    Key West always seems to have ongoing renovations and construction etc so be cautious of traffic controls, traffic workers, and slow-downs. Don't be in a hurry. Remember, you are on "Island Time"

    This 32th Anniversary of Fantasy Fest is Oct. 21-30 & big parade on Oct. 29

    Key West during Fantasy Fest is definitely not for the timid or shy and small children should not be downtown after dark (or at all if possible). Bodypaint, nudity and skimpy, sexy clothing (or lack thereof) rules!

    Nightly themes include: (and you should really consider costumes for every night)

    1st SATURDAY NIGHT-- Anything goes but keep it PG on the streets as there are still many tourists and residents prepping for FF. Save the risque fun for the bars and clubs and use common sense to cover up on the street.

    SUNDAY NIGHT--Pirate, Wench and Booty Night with the earlybirds of Fantasy Fest and Capt. Tony's has been the place to be the past few years to the point that police have shut down Greene Street

    MONDAY NIGHT-- features all those in leather, vinyl, rubber and all types of Fetish and Fantasy wear up to and including bodypaint (which is acceptable any night). It's not uncommon to see dozens if not hundreds of people dressed in leather or latex or some variation for this party or the many others featured in non-sanctioned venues. Again, Capt. Tony's has a special celebration in their side rooms called Capt. Tony's Rubber Fetish Ball.

    Also, MONDAY is Leather & Fetish @ Kelly's Kinky Karnival at Kelly's Caribbean. (Personally, I've attended the leather-fetish party @ Kelly's Caribbean Bar & Grill for several years and this is definitely not the place for anyone shy or timid).

    I am sure that many of the people in attendance both on the streets and in the bars and private parties are amazed at the costumes and antics of the crowds. Words cannot describe here what you might see so you will have to experience it yourself. My photos only scratch the surface.

    TUESDAY NIGHT--features Plaid Nite & bodypaint @ Capt. Tony's Saloon and there are several other parties throughout Key West.

    Remember, depending on the statistics used, Key West grows from a small town of 25,000 to almost 100,000 for Fantasy Fest as crowds are estimated to be from 50,000-75,000 and most are primarily situated in an area on a one-mile section of town called Duval Street (famous for the infamous Duval Crawl).

    There are also parties at Fat Tuesday's, the Headdress Ball, there is a free poster signing party and Capt. Tony's Saloon highlights the evening with its "Party in Plaid" event. I can usually be found spending my evening here.

    WEDNESDAY NIGHT--features Red Night @ Fogerty's & elsewhere on Duval Street and the crowds really start to arrive. Usually Duval Street is blocked off to allow only pedestrian traffic late at night and a two-four block long section of Duval which is labeled the "Fantasy Zone" where open containers of beer, wine or alcohol are permitted and are served from bars and vendors. I often try to use vendors that use a portion of their proceeds for local charities.

    The theme for the night is "Red" and Fogerty's & Flying Monkey's Bar is the place to be-- although other events are also fun including:

    Pet Masquerade & Parade at the Westin Key West resort (daytime)
    Celebrity Look-a-Like contest @ La Concha
    Beach party @ Hog's Breath Saloon with world famous Homemade Bikini Contest

    All the while these official events are occurring, many bars and saloons feature their own party theme and of course, thousands of people flock into the streets and sidewalks of Duval where people-watching takes on a new level.

    THURSDAY NIGHT--features Toga Night @ Sloppy Joes & everywhere else and there are thousands of togas and variations of them everywhere in Key West. After all, togas are relevant to party times and are easy to make or buy, and they feel great!

    Fantasy Fest features several events throughout old town including: Pretenders in Paradise costume contest (where the prize money is $10,000) at the Pier House Resort & Caribbean Spa; Monsters Ball at the Green Parrot Bar and of course, the famous (Hemingway used to hang out here) Sloppy Joes 26th annual Toga Party with a $1,000 cash prize.

    Again, Duval Street becomes an event in itself with thousands of people costumed and as many taking photos or just watching.

    Cruiseship passengers that happen to be in port for the week sure get an eyeful.

    The remainder of the festival has many events both FRIDAY and SATURDAY NIGHTS with Friday's highlight being the Duval Street Fair, Masquerade March and Pimp N Ho party while Saturday night features a Bourbon Street Tea Dance, Bodypaint Contest @ the Green Parrot and Captain Morgan Fantasy Fest parade where 70,000 onlookers and 50+ or more floats are all part of the celebration's pending conclusion down Duval Street on Saturday Night.

    SUNDAY NIGHT: the town almost returns to "normal" and has a children's day at a local park and a conclusion somewhere that focuses on "it's not over until the fat lady sings".

    The drive back home or the flight back home is always a challenge. Between hangovers, crowds, and general dismay about returning to reality, leaving Key West and Fantasy Fest can be tough except for the knowledge that the next Fantasy Fest is less than 360 days away!

    Please check my separate 2011 Fantasy Fest events listed (in detail) posted.

    Now, for some important DO's AND DON'T's of Fantasy Fest:
    (and thanks to the people that helped create this list where ever you are) :-)

    Don't wear a mask you can't drink in.

    Don't choose a costume you can't use the bathroom in.

    Don't wear shoes you can't walk in.

    Do dress sexier than you thought you might.

    Do make sure you have a place to stay before you get too drunk.

    Do realize that the shape and size of your breasts/*** will not change with spray paint.

    Don't wear your thong with your leg in the wrong hole.

    Do trim your pubic hair within the limits of your costume ...please.

    Do donate your leftover items to locals who want to enjoy Fantasy Fest as much
    as the rest of us but often just make room for us.

    Don't flash the cops.

    Don't ask the cops to flash you.

    Do understand that just because you are naked doesn't mean that others find you
    attractive.

    Don't go out carrying valuable items that you are likely to lose when you get drunk such as a purse wallet, expensive jewelry or your spouse.

    Do wrap your money in plastic or a ziplock first if you have nothing to carry it in but your bikini bottoms or sweaty shorts.

    Do consider getting a personal catheter for parade night as unoccupied bathrooms will be scarce (just joking)

    Don't verbally abuse anyone before stepping inside a porta-potty as the result could be disastrous and gross.

    Don't step in front of moving parade floats to pick up candy or beads.

    Do be aware that if you take Henrietta home with you may wake up with Henry.

    Do take lots of pictures but use a disposable camera if you are prone to losing them. And asking 1st if it is OK to take a photo will usually mean yes and you will get a nicer, posed shot or two.

    Do exercise a little tact and courtesy with the folks working in the bars through the festivities. They are there working days off for your enjoyment.

    Don't tip in beads - they don't want or need beads--- tip with cash please.

    Don't ask the female servers to show you their boobs--there are thousands of women on Duval Street dying to show you all that they've got.

    Don't try to stick your tongue down the bartender's throat unless of course he wants you to (just joking, again)

    Do carry some info or business card of your motel/hotel/B&B address so someone can help get you home if you need help late at night

    Don't be afraid to dress up. Have an outrageous time and tip big.

    And for those that can't make Fantasy Fest--------------

    The 6th Annual Mid-Year, Spring Reunion-Rendezvous of FantasyFesters and KrewedeKrazyLifers will occur in June 2012 at the wild and wicked Hedonism II resort in Jamaica where we will again enjoy theme nights like Fetish, PimpNHo and Toga, costumes, all-you-can eat and drink 24/7, a nude cruise, and all in a cashless, clothing optional-nude environment.

    In the meantime, take care, travel safe and have safe fun!

    Ann, The TravelSlut :-)
    email: thetravelslut@yahoo.com
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TravelSlut
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KrewedeKrazyLifers4Hedonism

    Dress Code: Now, for some important DO's AND DON'T's of Fantasy Fest:
    (and thanks to the people that helped create this list where ever you are) :-)

    Don't wear a mask you can't drink in.
    Don't choose a costume you can't use the bathroom in.
    Don't wear shoes you can't walk in.
    Do dress sexier than you thought you might.
    Do make sure you have a place to stay before you get too drunk.
    Do realize that the shape and size of your breasts/*** will not change with spray paint.
    Don't wear your thong with your leg in the wrong hole.
    Do trim your pubic hair within the limits of your costume ...please.
    Do donate your leftover items to locals who want to enjoy Fantasy Fest as much as you do
    Don't flash the cops.
    Don't ask the cops to flash you.
    Do understand that just because you are naked doesn't mean that others find you attractive.
    Don't go out carrying valuable items that you are likely to lose when you get drunk
    Do wrap your money in plastic or a ziplock first if you are carrying in against your skin
    Do know that bathrooms will be scarce
    Don't step in front of moving parade floats to pick up candy or beads.
    Do be aware that if you take Henrietta home with you may wake up with Henry.
    Do take lots of pictures but use a disposable camera if you are prone to losing them. And asking 1st if it is OK to take a photo will usually mean yes and you will get a nicer, posed shot or two.
    Do exercise a little tact and courtesy with the folks working in the bars through the festivities
    Don't tip in beads - they don't want or need beads--- tip with cash please.
    Don't ask the female servers to show you their boobs.
    Do carry info or business card of your motel/hotel address in case you need help getting back
    Don't be afraid to dress up. Have an outrageous time and tip big.
    And for those that can't make Fantasy Fest--there are alternatives

    Ann, TS

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    Fantasy Fest: Bull&Whistle Bar and Garden of Eden

    by 18LisaMi Written Jul 24, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Duval St. Fantasy Fest

    The Bull & Whistle (And Garden of Eden) are all three in one location (three floors). The Bull is ground floor ,open windows on Duval St. with live music. The Whistle is one flight upstairs,pool table,big bar,and a wrap around,New Orleans style balcony where one may see and be seen! Get a couple of drinks and pull up a balcony seat and the entertainment is free below you or you may become the entertainment. If you are up to another flight of stairs you will step into the Garden of Eden. This is a clothing optional bar,sun deck,body painting area. 'Nuff Said!

    Dress Code: First two floors,scanty,provocative is fine. Third floor is bare as you dare. (I recommend shoes!) I can't add a photo that would be acceptable but ..............Nuff said!

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    Fantasy Fest: Just stand and smile.... sweetly

    by spintobecca Written Jun 5, 2003

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    Fantasy Fest is not for children, this is a dark dark version of Mardi Gras... best enjoyed with alchohol. All the usual trappings of Mardi Gras are here.. breasts, costumes, more alchohol..etc.. but Fantasy Fest is painted with broad adult brush strokes. Floats will throw beads, do what you will to attract some.. I got some lovely beads with butterflies on them by standing still and smiling sweetly, I wasn't intoxicated and seemed to stick out of the crowd I guess?

    Don't worry about parking, there isn't any, so take a taxi and cash, and enjoy yourself!

    Dress Code: Dress code is:
    Body painting alowed, but both sexes must wear a bottom thong.
    Just a bottom thong will pass muster IF you are otherwise er painted.

    Related to:
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Gay and Lesbian

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    During Fantasy Fest, the best...

    by ThereAndBack Written Aug 26, 2002

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    During Fantasy Fest, the best nightlife is just walking and watching; of course, it is far better if you're participating as well.
    Duval Street is separated into the straight section (closer to Mallory Square) and the gay section further South. The line is not finely drawn. Though I'm straight, I much prefer the gay parties - less inhibited, wilder, ... just downright fun!

    Dress Code: As wildly colorful as you can talk yourself into.

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    Fantasy Fest: just go.

    by americanwildchild Updated Sep 2, 2005
    yayyy!

    Like I said. Just go to it.

    This is Fantasy Fest, and these ladies are dressed up for the festivities!!! It begins at least a week before Halloween, with Goombay ( an African--Carribean festival held in Bahama Village) and carries on into the next weekend. You will see every one donning pretty much everything...and nothing. Not for children so much at night time......Although at times I felt like a little child in a fantasy world...(Candyland?) The main parade takes place that saturday with festivities all week leading up to it.

    Dress Code: The dress code is your imagination. Be as wild and bright and colorful as you possibly can.

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    Duval Street: Tasmanian Devil....

    by frankcanfly Written Oct 21, 2002

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    Mel Blanc would be proud

    Again, do everything you can to get to Key West during Fantasy Fest!! If you forget your clothes, you can just get something painted on!!

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  • americanwildchild's Profile Photo

    Fantasy Fest: what you will see there!

    by americanwildchild Written Jul 27, 2005

    Body painting is always going on in various bars and booths around downtown Key West. But over Fantasy Fest, this becomes one's costume.

    Dress Code: I just wanted to give you all a good "eye" dea!!!!

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