Four-footed “party animals,” including those spoofing American presidential candidates, pranced across an oceanfront stage at the Fantasy Fest Pet Masquerade in Key West.
The Wednesday evening event was a highlight of the island city’s 10-day Fantasy Fest masking and costuming festival, this year themed “Political Voodoo & Ballot-Box Barbarians” in an offbeat salute to the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
The wacky costume challenge, designed for barking and meowing revelers and their human companions, drew several dozen entries — ranging from simple pet-and-person duos to groups of dressed-up animals and humans performing musical numbers.
Some competitors drew inspiration from the festival’s election-year theme. Among them were an orange-wigged dog depicting Donald Trump, flanked by his stalwart canine security detail, and a large ensemble of pets and people staging an “Alice Cooper for President” dance routine.
Other standouts included a circus troupe with a performing pooch painted as a white tiger, a young pirate “wench” whose tail-wagging pal carried her treasure chest, and a teacup Yorkie “bandita” whose costume included tiny toy pistols, a serape and a sombrero.
Fantasy Fest continues through Sunday with events including a masquerade march that begins at the local cemetery and Saturday night’s Fantasy Fest Parade through Key West’s historic downtown.
Large crowds are expected for the festival, but Florida Keys tourism officials say a few hotel rooms are still available in Key West and in other parts of the Keys. They stress that reservations are necessary to ensure accommodations.