Thousands of costumed revelers at Key West’s annual Fantasy Fest warmed up for Saturday night’s lavish grand parade by staging an offbeat Masquerade March through the island’s Old Town district.
Beginning at the Key West Cemetery, the free-spirited Friday evening march was a highlight of the annual 10-day masking and costuming festival that continues through the weekend.
Among notable participants were a “Wizard of Oz” troupe led by a male mini-skirted Dorothy and a “diver” in a shark cage, closely followed by a strolling shark.
Some marchers wore costumes inspired by the 2019 Fantasy Fest theme, “In Tune But … Off Key” saluting all things musical. Standouts included a group portraying supersized cathedral bells and a hillbilly band complete with washboard players.
The annual festival showstopper, Saturday night’s Fantasy Fest Parade, is expected to draw more than 60,000 people to Key West’s historic downtown. The parade typically includes dozens of elaborate floats, exotically costumed walking groups and island-style bands.
Featuring nearly 100 events, Fantasy Fest concludes late Sunday after a children’s carnival and an afternoon dance party.