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Watch The Fantasy Fest Pet Masquerade


KEY WEST, Fla. — Dressed-up dogs, costumed cats and other pets unleashed their “animal magnetism” on an open-air stage at the Fantasy Fest Pet Masquerade in Key West.

The furred and feathered fun was a Wednesday evening highlight of the island city’s 10-day Fantasy Fest masking and costuming celebration. The festival’s 2018 theme is “Oh … The Games We Play!” in salute to everything from traditional board games to role-playing quests.

The wacky costume challenge, designed for animals and their human companions, drew several dozen entries ranging from pet-and-person duos to groups performing offbeat skits.

Some competitors found inspiration in the festival’s game-playing theme. Among them were a “Pokemon Go” spoof that included a hedgehog named Quilly, and a large ensemble of dancing people and dogs costumed as arcade and video game characters.

Other standouts included a “Wizard of Oz” troupe with a canine Cowardly Lion, a pair of doggy buccaneers aboard a pirate ship, and a real-life Florida Keys veterinarian and her tiny poodle in matching Wonder Woman outfits.

Fantasy Fest continues through Sunday with events including a masquerade march that begins at the local cemetery and Saturday night’s lavish Fantasy Fest Parade. Proceeding through Key West’s historic downtown, the parade is expected to attract some 60,000 revelers.

Proceeds from the Pet Masquerade benefit the Lower Keys Friends of Animals