Since I haven’t made it anywhere exciting since settling down into our own place in Seattle, I thought I would tell about our 2nd visit to Key West was with a dear friend of mine, Kelly and during the raucous week of Fantasy Fest. We kind of expected the sights we would see but it’s hard to be fully prepared until you are there and seeing them. The bacchanal evening were perfectly balanced by the tranquil paradise of the Gulf Coast beaches. For those unfamiliar with the event; “Fantasy Fest is an annual 10-day party in paradise for grown-ups. Started in 1979 by a small group of Key West locals, the party was created to bring visitors to the island in what was a typically quiet, but beautiful season. It worked. Fantasy Fest has grown every year since its inception and is now the wildest extravaganza around! Fun-loving revelers from around the globe bring their creativity and imaginations as they descend upon Key West each year in October for 10 days filled with costuming, parades, libations, and excitement!”
To avoid the increased hotel pricing, we used Craigslist to find a small private condo rental. Although our condo was on the opposite side of the island, there is a great bus system and we had a relatively tourist-free private swimming pool.
And that is pretty much what we did! During the day we lounged and relaxed and at night we played voyeurs to the wild street parties. While dining in a local breakfast place we marveled at the guy who went for a daily jog in tap shoes and a string bikini bottoms. We spent a day in the teal blue of the gulf of Mexico, then got to hold baby alligators at the Key West Aquarium. Justin and I were members of the Florida Zoo and got great discounted tickets. We drank so much frozen mixed beverages I am impressed that I can recall as much as I can. The parade was fun, mostly because of the reactions of the unsuspecting tourists coming over from the cruise ships who had no idea what Fantasy Fest was. I imagined they were shocked by the half naked painted bodies that seem to be so popular down the famous Duval St. As far as iconic sights, we saw the Hemingway House, Mile 0 sign and End 1 sign as well as wandering into the Southernmost Point completely by accident. We visited Mallory Square, walked Duval Street including Duval Square and even talked about visiting the Strand Theater which was on our way back to the condo each day. We decided not to take in a film at this vintage theater on this trip, but did on our next time in the keys.
In short, if you are not squeamish and really want to see some New Orleans level partying in a tropical paradise, I highly suggest visiting Key West during the last week of October. Fantasy Fest is worth seeing.