Updated: Jan 23, 2021
*CONTENT WARNING – Photos containing racy outfits and body paint*
What is Fantasy Fest? Fantasy Fest is a '10-Day party in paradise for grown-ups’ according the official website. Since 1979, Key West has welcomed visitors every October for parades, wild parties, costumes, and body painting. A theme is set each year for the costumes, parties, and floats in the parade. There are also themed parties throughout the 10-days at different venues, such as Zombie Bike Ride, Party in Plaid, Tutu Tuesday, Halos & Horns, Toga Party, White Party, and Pirate Bash.
Kuma Too secured dock space for this year’s event by getting on the wait list in 2016! Not only was this our first charter for Fantasy Fest, it was also our first time to the event. Being Florida residents, we’ve heard the stories and felt we were prepared for what to expect at Fantasy Fest.
We arrived to the Key West Bight Marina early Tuesday morning, just in time for Tutu Tuesday. It was fun for our guests to get a taste of the events; as we pulled in, visitors were walking the docks in tutus! As the week wore on, the costumes became more prevalent and body paint started appearing.
By Friday, the crowd was ready for a party! Our guests were dressed to the nines with their costumes and hit Duval Street for the festivities. After we cleaned up dinner, we wanted to see the show too, so we went on a walkabout around town. We knew what to expect, so the outfits and body paint were not shocking to us. On the contrary, we enjoyed getting to see all the planning that goes into creating these costumes! The thought people put into planning their paint or costumes to fit with a theme or their personality is really intriguing.
Duval Street is lined with street vendors that fill the air with enticing aromas of their cuisine and body paint artists displaying their work on beautiful young women. Shopkeepers stand at the doors trying their hardest to bring in the next buyer with their witty sales pitches. The police line the street, yet they are truly there to keep the peace. We chatted with an officer who filled us in on the exposure rules, “men and women have to have their genitals covered and woman have to cover their nipples. As long as there is a layer of paint/sparkles/dusted make-up/stickers over those areas, it’s fair game." They were the calmest police officers we’ve ever experienced; I supposed if you’re stationed at an event of this caliper, you have to have a pretty open mind.
Saturday is the big event, the Fantasy Fest Parade! The evening parade winds through the streets downtown of Historic Key West. There are dazzling floats and marching groups adorned with elaborate decorations and vibrant costumes. Key West Locals work hard, collect donations, and spend lots of their own money to put on a fabulous show for all the attendees.
All and all, it was a successful charter, and we hope our guests enjoyed their experience as much as we did. Kuma Too is happy to have secured dock space for next year’s Fantasy Fest as well! To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit www.SailingKumaToo.com
Until next week, Happy Sailing!