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Fantasy Fest In Key West, Florida (Ultimate Festival Guide)


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Claudia Wolf



Welcome to the enchanting world of Fantasy Fest, an annual week-long festival held in Key West, Florida. This unique event, celebrated since its inception in 1979, is a vibrant blend of vibrant parades, dazzling costumes, electrifying music, and non-stop revelry. Known for its spontaneous and free-spirited atmosphere, Fantasy Fest offers an escape from reality and allows attendees to embrace their fantasies.


Each year, thousands of visitors flock to Key West to become a part of this extraordinary celebration. Whether you are an arts and culture enthusiast, an avid party-goer, or simply someone seeking an unforgettable experience, Fantasy Fest is sure to leave a lasting impression.


This article serves as your ultimate guide to Fantasy Fest, providing you with detailed information about its history, dates, location, themes, costumes, events, activities, and tips for attending. So, get ready to dive into a world where imagination knows no bounds and dreams come to life.


History of Fantasy Fest

The history of Fantasy Fest traces back to the late 1970s when a group of Key West locals decided to organize a celebration to boost tourism during the slow season. Inspired by the spontaneous and extravagant Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans, they wanted to create a similar event that would showcase the vibrant spirit of Key West.


The first Fantasy Fest took place in 1979, and the response from both locals and visitors exceeded all expectations. It began as a modest parade featuring a few hundred participants, but over the years, it has grown into a world-renowned festival attracting tens of thousands of attendees.


As the festival evolved, it gained a reputation for its unique blend of adult humor, creative costumes, and extravagant parties. Fantasy Fest became synonymous with freedom of expression and a celebration of individuality, making it a truly iconic event in the Florida Keys.


Throughout its history, Fantasy Fest has faced various challenges, including the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma in 2017, which led to the cancellation of that year’s festivities. However, the resilient community of Key West rallied together, and the festival returned stronger than ever in subsequent years.


Today, Fantasy Fest continues to captivate audiences with its vibrant energy and exuberance. It has become a staple of Key West’s cultural calendar, showcasing the island’s playful and vibrant spirit.


Dates and Location

Fantasy Fest takes place over a week-long period, usually at the end of October. The specific dates may vary each year, so it is recommended to check the official Fantasy Fest website for the most up-to-date information.


The festival is held in the heart of Key West, Florida. This lively and picturesque island is known for its vibrant culture, stunning sunsets, and laid-back atmosphere. Key West’s charming streets, lined with colorful Victorian houses and swaying palm trees, serve as the perfect backdrop for the festivities.


The main hub of the festival is along Duval Street, the city’s vibrant and lively thoroughfare. This iconic street becomes a playground of excitement, with various events, parades, and parties taking place throughout the week. Duval Street comes alive with a kaleidoscope of costumes, music, and revelry, creating an atmosphere unlike any other.


Key West’s warm and tropical climate adds to the allure of Fantasy Fest. Attendees can enjoy the festivities while basking in the island’s pleasant temperatures and gentle ocean breezes.


When planning your visit to Fantasy Fest, it is important to book accommodation in advance, as the event attracts a large number of visitors. There are numerous hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals available on the island, offering a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences.


Key West is well connected to major cities in Florida and beyond. Visitors can fly into Key West International Airport, located just a short drive from downtown. Alternatively, it is possible to reach Key West by road, with Highway 1 providing access to the island. Once on the island, getting around is easy, with various transportation options available, including taxis, trolleys, and bike rentals.


Now that you have an idea of the dates and location of Fantasy Fest, it’s time to delve into the exciting themes and stunning costumes that make this festival truly one-of-a-kind.


Themes and Costumes

One of the highlights of Fantasy Fest is the opportunity to unleash your creativity and dress up in elaborate costumes that truly embody your wildest fantasies. Each year, the festival adopts a unique theme that serves as the inspiration for attendees to create their costumes.


Themes range from mythical creatures to historical eras, pop culture icons to abstract concepts. Some popular past themes have included “Superheroes, Villains, and Beyond,” “Aquatic Afrolic,” and “Political Voodoo & Ballot Box Barbarians.” The theme is announced well in advance, allowing participants ample time to plan and create their costumes.


The level of creativity and attention to detail seen in Fantasy Fest costumes is truly remarkable. Attendees go to great lengths to design and craft their outfits, often incorporating elements like feathers, sequins, body paint, and extravagant accessories. From seductive mermaids to fierce pirates, from whimsical fairies to imaginative creatures, costumes at Fantasy Fest are a visual feast for the eyes.


While there are no strict costume guidelines at Fantasy Fest, it’s important to respect others’ boundaries and exercise common sense. Nudity is not permitted in public spaces, and costumes should comply with local laws and regulations. It’s all about having fun and expressing yourself within the festival’s vibrant and inclusive atmosphere.


If you’re not inclined to craft your own costume, don’t worry! Key West is home to numerous costume shops and rental stores where you can find a wide range of outfits, accessories, and props to suit any theme or style. These stores are often busy during the festival period, so it’s advisable to visit them a few days in advance to secure the perfect attire.


Whether you choose to go all out with an extravagant ensemble or opt for a more subtle and creative approach, wearing a costume at Fantasy Fest is an essential part of embracing the festival’s spirit and immersing yourself in the magical world it creates.


Events and Activities

Fantasy Fest offers an incredible array of events and activities to keep attendees entertained throughout the week-long celebration. From parades to parties, art exhibitions to live performances, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


The highlight of Fantasy Fest is the Grand Parade, a dazzling spectacle of floats, dancers, and performers that winds its way through the streets of Key West. This vibrant procession is a feast for the eyes, featuring elaborate costumes, lively music, and a joyful atmosphere. Locals and visitors alike line the streets to witness this spectacular display of creativity and celebration.


Another popular event is the Street Fair, which takes place along Duval Street. Here, you’ll find vendors selling a wide range of merchandise, from handmade crafts to unique souvenirs. Food stalls offer delicious treats, and live entertainment adds to the festive ambiance. The Street Fair is the perfect place to soak in the lively atmosphere of Fantasy Fest while exploring the local culture and art scene.


A unique event that showcases the artistic side of Fantasy Fest is the Body Painting Contest. Watch in awe as talented artists transform human bodies into living canvases, creating stunning and imaginative works of art. This event is a mesmerizing blend of creativity, skill, and the human form, a true testament to the artistic spirit of the festival.


Captain Morgan’s Fantasy Fest Ahoy is another thrilling event that combines adventure, music, and the beautiful Key West waters. Join a pirate-themed sunset cruise and set sail with fellow festival-goers for an unforgettable experience on the high seas. Dance, drink, and revel like a true pirate while enjoying breathtaking views of the ocean and the Key West skyline.


No Fantasy Fest would be complete without experiencing the electric atmosphere of the Duval Street Party. As the sun sets, the street transforms into a massive open-air party, with bars, clubs, and restaurants offering special events and live music. Join in the street party and dance the night away amidst the vibrant energy and contagious enthusiasm of Fantasy Fest.


The festival also includes the Fantasy Fest Royal Coronation Ball, where attendees can witness the crowning of the King and Queen of Fantasy Fest. This elegant and glamorous event showcases the regal side of the festival and offers a chance for attendees to don their most exquisite attire.


These are just a few of the many events and activities that make up Fantasy Fest. The festival’s schedule is packed with an abundance of experiences, ensuring that every moment spent in Key West during this extravaganza is filled with excitement and delight.



The parade is the centerpiece of Fantasy Fest, a grand spectacle that brings the streets of Key West to life with a burst of color, energy, and excitement. This lively procession showcases extravagant floats, stunning costumes, and enthusiastic participants, offering a visual feast for all who are lucky enough to witness it.


The parade route typically runs along Duval Street, the iconic main thoroughfare of Key West. As the appointed time approaches, the anticipation builds among both the participants and the spectators lining the streets. The air is filled with excitement and a palpable sense of celebration.


Floats in the parade range from intricate and larger-than-life creations to smaller, more intimate displays. Each float is meticulously designed and decorated according to the theme of the year, showcasing the creativity and artistry of the participants. Colors, lights, and music come together in a mesmerizing display as the floats glide down the street.


The parade isn’t just about the floats; it’s also the perfect opportunity for attendees to showcase their own imaginative costumes. Participants and spectators alike embrace the festival’s spirit and come dressed in everything from couture-inspired ensembles to outlandish and whimsical costumes. It’s a visual spectacle that immerses everyone in the fantastical world of Fantasy Fest.


The atmosphere during the parade is electric. Participants dance, sing, and entertain the crowd, creating an infectious energy that resonates throughout the festival. Music fills the air, with bands, DJs, and performers adding to the vibrant ambiance. It’s a true celebration of life, freedom, and the power of self-expression.


One of the highlights of the parade is the participation of the Royal Court, including the King and Queen of Fantasy Fest. Dressed in lavish attire, they lead the extravagant procession, adding a touch of regal charm to the event. It’s a moment of grandeur that adds to the overall spectacle of the parade.


As the parade concludes, the party continues into the night. Attendees spill out onto the streets, moving from one venue to another, reveling in the excitement and joy of Fantasy Fest. It’s a magical experience that leaves lasting memories for all who witness it.


Whether you participate in the parade or simply watch from the sidelines, it’s an experience that captures the essence of Fantasy Fest and showcases the vibrant spirit of Key West.


Street Fair

The Street Fair is a lively and bustling event that takes place along the iconic Duval Street during Fantasy Fest. This vibrant fair adds an extra layer of excitement to the festival, offering attendees a chance to explore a wide array of vendors, taste delicious food, and immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere.


Duval Street, usually bustling with activity, transforms into a vibrant marketplace during Fantasy Fest. Booths line the street, showcasing a variety of merchandise, arts, and crafts. From handmade jewelry and clothing to unique souvenirs and artworks, there’s something to suit every taste and budget. It’s the perfect opportunity to find a special memento to commemorate your experience at Fantasy Fest.


Food is an integral part of any festival, and the Street Fair does not disappoint in that regard. Local vendors and food stalls offer a mouthwatering array of culinary delights. Indulge in local favorites like Key West pink shrimp, conch fritters, and Cuban sandwiches, or satisfy your sweet tooth with delectable desserts. From savory to sweet, the Street Fair has a tempting treat for every palate.


Alongside the goodies and crafts, live entertainment adds to the lively ambiance of the Street Fair. Musicians, street performers, and artists showcase their talents, providing a lively soundtrack and captivating performances for attendees to enjoy. The streets come alive with the sounds of laughter, music, and applause, creating an atmosphere of celebration and joy.


Exploring the Street Fair is not just about shopping and eating; it’s also a chance to immerse yourself in the unique culture of Key West. The fair showcases the local arts scene, with galleries displaying works of art by talented local artists. Admire paintings, sculptures, and other forms of artistic expression, and perhaps even take home a piece of Key West’s creative spirit.


As you stroll through the fair, you’ll likely encounter participants and spectators dressed in their elaborate Fantasy Fest costumes. It’s a chance to admire the creativity and dedication that goes into each costume, and perhaps even gather inspiration for your own future Fantasy Fest adventures.


The Street Fair is a hub of activity and a central gathering point during the festival. It’s a place to connect with fellow festival-goers, swap stories and experiences, and revel in the infectious energy of Fantasy Fest. Whether you’re seeking unique treasures, delicious food, or simply a sense of community, the Street Fair offers it all.


Now that you’re familiar with the Street Fair, get ready to indulge in the extravagant art of body painting at the Body Painting Contest!


Masquerade March

The Masquerade March is a whimsical and enchanting event that adds a touch of mystery and intrigue to Fantasy Fest. Held during the week-long celebration, this march allows attendees to embrace the allure of masks and costumes, immersing themselves in a world where identities are concealed, and imagination takes center stage.


The Masquerade March brings together participants dressed in elaborate costumes and adorned with masks, transforming the streets of Key West into a magical parade. The event takes place along a designated route, and attendees are free to join in the march or simply line the streets to watch as the procession passes by.


As the march begins, the sound of excited chatter and laughter fills the air. The vibrant array of costumes and masks creates a captivating visual spectacle, with attendees dressed as fantastical creatures, historical figures, and mythical beings. The creativity and attention to detail in each costume are truly awe-inspiring.


The use of masks adds an air of mystery and intrigue to the event. Participants can choose ornate masks that conceal their features, allowing them to assume a different persona for the duration of the march. It’s a chance to let go of inhibitions, experiment with different identities, and embrace the anonymity that masks provide.


The energy during the Masquerade March is contagious. Music fills the streets as bands, DJs, or even impromptu performers provide an eclectic soundtrack to accompany the procession. Attendees dance, sing, and revel in the joyous atmosphere, creating an electric and celebratory ambiance.


The Masquerade March is not just a visual and auditory spectacle; it also presents an opportunity to engage with fellow festival-goers. As the march progresses, participants and spectators engage in friendly banter, exchange compliments on costumes, and share stories of their festival experiences. It’s a chance to connect with like-minded individuals and forge new friendships in the spirit of Fantasy Fest.


While the march itself is a highlight of the event, the sense of camaraderie and collective celebration that it fosters is equally significant. Participants share a sense of community and unity, united by their love of Fantasy Fest and their desire to revel in the freedom of self-expression.


As the Masquerade March comes to an end, the festivities continue in other corners of Key West. Attendees can transition seamlessly from the march to other events and parties, carrying the energy and spirit of the march with them throughout the night.


The Masquerade March is a delightful and magical experience that encapsulates the essence of Fantasy Fest. So, don your mask, dress in your most fantastical attire, and immerse yourself in the enchantment of this captivating event.


Body Painting Contest

The Body Painting Contest is one of the most visually stunning and artistic events at Fantasy Fest. This mesmerizing competition showcases the incredible talent of body painters as they transform human bodies into living works of art.


During the contest, accomplished artists from Key West and beyond display their skills and creativity by using the human form as their canvas. Models are transformed into mesmerizing creations, with intricately painted designs covering their bodies from head to toe. The artistry and attention to detail exhibited by the painters are truly remarkable.


The Body Painting Contest is a captivating fusion of visual art, creativity, and the human body. The themes vary each year, providing artists with a platform to explore different concepts and push their artistic boundaries. Attendees are treated to a showcase of diverse styles, ranging from abstract and surreal to realistic and thematic.


As the models parade down the runway, the audience is captivated by the breathtaking display of body art. Each step reveals new layers of color, texture, and design, unveiling the incredible metamorphosis that has taken place. The competition is fierce, with the artists vying for recognition and the honor of being crowned the best in their respective categories.


The atmosphere during the Body Painting Contest is electric. Applause and cheers fill the air as each model makes their way across the stage, showcasing their painted masterpiece. The audience is in awe of the transformation and appreciative of the artistry on display.


The event goes beyond mere aesthetics; it is also a celebration of creativity, self-expression, and the beauty of the human body. Body painting empowers individuals to embrace their bodies as a canvas for art, breaking societal norms and celebrating uniqueness. It’s a powerful reminder that art can transcend traditional mediums and be expressed through unconventional means.


For those who want to witness the process behind the stunning final result, some artists offer live painting demonstrations before the contest. Attendees can observe as the artists skillfully transform a blank canvas into a breathtaking work of art, gaining insight into the techniques and processes involved in creating body paintings.


The Body Painting Contest provides a platform for the incredible talents of body painters to shine, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for both participants and spectators. It’s an opportunity to witness the fusion of art and the human body, celebrating the beauty in creativity and individuality.


After the Body Painting Contest, the festivities of Fantasy Fest continue to unfold. Attendees can explore the various parties, events, and celebrations happening throughout Key West, bringing the magic of body painting into the night.


Captain Morgan’s Fantasy Fest Ahoy

Captain Morgan’s Fantasy Fest Ahoy is a swashbuckling adventure that combines the excitement of Key West’s waters with the festive spirit of Fantasy Fest. This pirate-themed event offers attendees the chance to hoist the anchor, set sail, and revel in an unforgettable nautical experience.


The highlight of Captain Morgan’s Fantasy Fest Ahoy is a pirate-themed sunset cruise. Participants embark on a ship, complete with a crew dressed as buccaneers, and set sail along the sparkling waters surrounding Key West. The ship becomes a floating party venue, filled with music, laughter, and the camaraderie of fellow festival-goers.


As the ship glides through the turquoise waters, attendees take in breathtaking views of the Key West shoreline and the stunning sunset painting the sky with vibrant hues. The combination of salty air, rhythmic waves, and the thrill of sailing adds to the enchantment of the experience.


The pirate-themed cruise is unlike any other boat ride. Attendees can don their finest pirate attire, allowing them to fully embrace the swashbuckling spirit of the event. From tricorn hats and eye patches to billowing shirts and feathered accessories, participants let their imaginations run wild as they become a part of the pirate crew.


Onboard, Captain Morgan’s Fantasy Fest Ahoy offers a variety of entertainment and amenities to keep attendees entertained. Live music sets the tone, filling the air with sea shanties and lively tunes. A fully stocked bar ensures that participants can enjoy their favorite libations as they raise a glass to the adventure unfolding around them.


Participants can take part in various pirate-themed activities throughout the cruise. From pirate trivia and themed contests to dance-offs and treasure hunts, there’s no shortage of excitement and interactive entertainment. Those feeling daring can even try their hand at wielding a sword or walk the plank in a playful reenactment.


The cruise is not just about the on-board festivities; it also provides opportunities for interaction with fellow pirates and attendees. As the ship sails, friendships are forged, and shared experiences create lasting memories. The convivial atmosphere fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among all who have come together to celebrate Fantasy Fest.


Captain Morgan’s Fantasy Fest Ahoy is an adventure on the high seas that perfectly complements the festivities of Fantasy Fest. It allows participants to step into the shoes of a pirate, embrace the sense of freedom and adventure, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


After disembarking from the pirate cruise, the night in Key West is still young, and the Duval Street Party awaits with its vibrant energy and pulsating festivities.


Duval Street Party

The Duval Street Party is where the heart of Fantasy Fest truly comes alive. This iconic event transforms the famous Duval Street in Key West into a bustling and electrifying open-air party, drawing in crowds of festival-goers from all corners of the globe.


As the sun sets, the party begins. Duval Street, typically known for its charming shops and vibrant bars, undergoes a remarkable metamorphosis. The street transforms into a lively playground where music, laughter, and celebration fill the air.


Bars, clubs, and restaurants along Duval Street offer special events, live music performances, and themed parties throughout the night. From reggae beats to pulsating electronic music, the sounds of various genres fill the streets and entice dancers to move to the rhythm.


The spirit of Fantasy Fest permeates every nook and cranny of Duval Street during the party. Costumed revelers add a vibrant and whimsical element to the scene. Attendees take pride in their imaginative and often extravagant attire, bringing characters from all walks of life to life.


As you navigate through the crowd, you will encounter pirates, fairies, superheroes, movie characters, and creatures from fantasy and folklore. The diversity of costumes and the creativity on display is a testament to the vibrant imagination and artistic spirit of the festival-goers.


The Duval Street Party fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie. Strangers become friends as they share stories, compliments, and laughter. It’s an incredibly inclusive and welcoming environment, where everyone is encouraged to let loose and embrace the joyous spirit of Fantasy Fest.


The street itself becomes a stage, with impromptu performances, dancing, and even flash mobs breaking out at any given moment. The energy is contagious, and you can’t help but be swept up in the excitement.


Food carts and outdoor vendors line the streets, offering a variety of delicious treats to satisfy your hunger. From fresh seafood to mouthwatering street food, there’s something to please every palate. Sample local delicacies or indulge in unique creations from diverse cuisines.


The Duval Street Party is also a fantastic opportunity for people-watching. Take a seat at one of the lively outdoor cafes or find a spot on a balcony overlooking the festivities. Watch as the parade of costumes, laughter, and celebration goes by, creating a visual spectacle that embodies the essence of Fantasy Fest.


As the night progresses, the energy of the party shows no signs of waning. The celebration continues into the early hours, ensuring that you can dance, mingle, and revel in the joy of Fantasy Fest until the sun begins to rise once again.


The Duval Street Party is an experience like no other, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the vibrant and infectious spirit of Fantasy Fest. So grab your friends, put on your most fantastic attire, and get ready to join the unforgettable festivities on Duval Street!


Fantasy Fest Royal Coronation Ball

The Fantasy Fest Royal Coronation Ball is an elegant and glamorous affair that adds a touch of regality to the festivities. Held in Key West during Fantasy Fest, this grand event is a celebration of the festival’s royalty and an opportunity for attendees to dress in their most exquisite attire.


The highlight of the Royal Coronation Ball is the crowning of the King and Queen of Fantasy Fest. These individuals, chosen based on their participation, creativity, and embodiment of the festival’s spirit, are honored in a lavish ceremony. Clad in opulent attire, they are presented to the revelers as the esteemed figures who embody the essence of Fantasy Fest.


The Ball provides a setting where attendees can step into a world of opulence and luxury. Guests dress in their finest gowns, tuxedos, and formal attire, adding an air of sophistication to the night. The elegance of the attire and the venue creates a captivating atmosphere of glamour and refinement.


The venue itself is carefully chosen to ensure a majestic setting befitting a regal affair. Often held in lavish ballrooms or exquisite event spaces, the Royal Coronation Ball combines grandeur, décor, and lighting that enhance the sense of elegance and prestige.


During the Ball, live entertainment and music fill the air, enchanting attendees with their melodic tunes. From classical orchestras to contemporary performers, the sounds of the night resonate throughout the venue, further elevating the atmosphere of sophistication and celebration.


The Royal Coronation Ball offers a chance for attendees to enjoy delectable cuisine as well. Lavish buffets or fine dining experiences are provided, ensuring that guests can indulge in a culinary journey that matches the elegance of the event. Fine wines, champagne toasts, and expertly crafted cocktails add to the overall sense of luxury.


It’s not just about the ceremony and indulgence; the Ball also provides an intimate setting for attendees to mingle, socialize, and connect with fellow festival-goers. Conversations flow, laughter fills the air, and friendships are formed in the enchanting ambiance of the Royal Coronation Ball.


The Fantasy Fest Royal Coronation Ball is a night of splendor, where attendees can feel like nobility as they revel in the grandeur of the event. It’s a chance to celebrate the creativity, passion, and commitment that make Fantasy Fest the remarkable and cherished festival that it is.


As the Ball concludes, the festivities of Fantasy Fest continue to unfold throughout Key West, ensuring that the magic of the night lingers and the celebration goes on.


Tips for Attending Fantasy Fest

Attending Fantasy Fest can be an exciting and memorable experience. To make the most of your time at the festival and ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit, consider these helpful tips:

  1. Plan in advance: Fantasy Fest attracts a large number of attendees, so it’s important to plan your trip well in advance. Book your accommodation, flights, or transportation early to secure the best options and avoid any last-minute inconveniences.
  2. Check the schedule: Stay updated with the official Fantasy Fest website or app to know the schedule of events, parades, and parties happening throughout the week. This will help you plan which activities to attend and make the most of your time.
  3. Embrace the theme: Each year, Fantasy Fest has a unique theme. Embrace the theme and get creative with your costumes and outfits. Let your imagination soar and immerse yourself in the festive spirit.
  4. Stay hydrated and nourished: With the excitement and energy of Fantasy Fest, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and make sure to have regular meals to keep your energy levels up.
  5. Bring cash: While many vendors accept cards, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for food stalls, tips, and smaller vendors who may only accept cash payments.
  6. Practice safety measures: Fantasy Fest is a lively and crowded event, so it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and take necessary safety precautions. Keep your belongings secure and be mindful of any personal boundaries.
  7. Comfortable shoes: With various events and parties happening throughout Key West, be prepared to do a fair amount of walking. Wear comfortable shoes that will allow you to enjoy the festivities without any discomfort.
  8. Capture memories: Don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone to capture the vibrant and stunning moments at Fantasy Fest. This way, you can look back on the memories and share the experience with friends and family.
  9. Respect local laws and regulations: While Fantasy Fest encourages self-expression and freedom, it’s important to respect local laws and regulations. Nudity in public spaces and behavior that infringes upon others’ comfort is not allowed.
  10. Be open-minded and respectful: Fantasy Fest celebrates diversity and individuality. Embrace the unique costumes, creativity, and artistic expressions of others. Treat fellow festival-goers with respect and kindness.
  11. Enjoy and have fun: Most importantly, relax, let go of inhibitions, and enjoy the festivities. Fantasy Fest is a celebration of joy, freedom, and creativity, so let yourself fully immerse in the experience and make unforgettable memories.

By following these tips, you can ensure a fantastic and memorable time at Fantasy Fest, embracing the unique spirit that makes this festival a one-of-a-kind experience.


Accommodation Options

When attending Fantasy Fest, it’s important to secure accommodation in advance to ensure a comfortable and convenient stay. Key West offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets.


Hotels and Resorts: Key West is home to numerous hotels and resorts, ranging from luxurious establishments to more budget-friendly accommodations. These properties often offer amenities such as pools, restaurants, and convenient access to major attractions. Booking early is essential, as hotels fill up quickly during the festival period.


Vacation Rentals: Another popular option is to rent a vacation home, condo, or apartment. This gives you the flexibility of having your own private space while enjoying the comforts of home. Vacation rentals can accommodate larger groups and often include amenities such as kitchens and laundry facilities.


Historic Inns and Bed & Breakfasts: Key West is known for its charming historic inns and bed & breakfasts. These unique accommodations offer a cozy and intimate atmosphere, with individually decorated rooms and personalized service. Staying in one of these establishments adds a touch of old-world charm to your Fantasy Fest experience.


Guesthouses and Hostels: For those on a budget or looking to socialize with fellow travelers, guesthouses and hostels are a great option. These accommodations typically offer shared facilities and common areas, providing an opportunity to meet new people and make connections with fellow festival-goers.


Campgrounds and RV Parks: If you prefer a more adventurous experience, Key West has several campgrounds and RV parks. This allows you to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors while still being in close proximity to the festival activities. Keep in mind that campground spots can fill up quickly, so it’s best to make reservations in advance.


Location is an important factor to consider when choosing accommodations for Fantasy Fest. Depending on your preferences, you may want to stay within walking distance of Duval Street to have easy access to the main festival events and parades. Alternatively, you can opt for accommodations a bit farther away to enjoy a quieter retreat while still being able to reach the festival grounds with a short commute.


It’s important to book your accommodations well in advance to secure your desired option. Prices for accommodations during Fantasy Fest may be higher than usual due to the increased demand, so keep this in mind when budgeting for your trip.


By considering your preferences, budget, and location, you can find the perfect accommodation to suit your needs and make your time at Fantasy Fest as enjoyable as possible.



When attending Fantasy Fest in Key West, it’s important to plan your transportation to ensure seamless travel during the festival. Here are some transportation options to consider:


Flying: If you’re coming from a distance, the most convenient way to reach Key West is by flying into Key West International Airport. The airport offers flights from various cities in Florida and other major hubs. From the airport, you can arrange transportation to your accommodation, such as a taxi, shuttle service, or car rental.


Driving: Key West is connected to the mainland by the famous Overseas Highway (Highway 1). If you prefer to drive, you can reach Key West by car from mainland Florida. Keep in mind that parking can be limited and expensive in Key West, so it’s advisable to check with your accommodation about parking options in advance.


Taxis and Rideshares: Taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are available in Key West and can be a convenient way to get around the city. These services can be particularly useful if you’re traveling with a group or carrying bulky costumes or props.


Bicycles: Key West is a relatively small island, making it a perfect place for exploring on a bicycle. Many bike rental shops can be found throughout the city, allowing you to pedal your way around and navigate the festival with ease. Just be mindful of traffic and pedestrians.


Trolleys and Shuttles: Key West offers trolleys and shuttles that provide transportation around the city and to popular attractions. These services can be a convenient option for getting to different festival events without worrying about parking or navigating through crowded streets.


Walking: Key West’s compact size and layout make it highly walkable, especially in the festival area around Duval Street. Walking not only saves transportation costs but also allows you to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Fantasy Fest as you stroll from one event to another.


It’s essential to plan your transportation in advance and allow sufficient travel time, especially during peak festival hours. Keep in mind that certain streets may be closed or have restricted access during parades and major events, so familiarize yourself with the festival schedule and any associated road closures to avoid any inconvenience.


If you plan to travel longer distances during your visit to Key West, consider renting a car or arranging for transportation services in advance to ensure availability. Additionally, always ensure you have a designated driver or utilize rideshare services if you plan to indulge in alcohol during the festivities.


By considering these transportation options and planning accordingly, you can navigate Key West with ease and fully enjoy the excitement and celebrations of Fantasy Fest.


Safety and Security Measures

Ensuring a safe and secure environment is a priority during Fantasy Fest. Here are some important safety and security measures to keep in mind when attending the festival:


Stay aware of your surroundings: While Fantasy Fest is a celebration of joy and creativity, it’s important to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Be mindful of your belongings and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. If you see something concerning, report it to festival staff or security personnel.


Stay hydrated and take breaks: With the excitement and energy of the festival, it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities and overlook basic self-care. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and take breaks when needed to rest and recharge.


Designated meeting points: Establish designated meeting points with your group in case you get separated during the festival. This ensures that you can easily regroup and continue enjoying the festivities together. Make sure everyone is aware of the meeting points and knows how to reach them.


Follow the festival guidelines: Familiarize yourself with the festival guidelines and adhere to them. These guidelines are in place to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all attendees. Respect the rules regarding nudity, public behavior, and respect for others’ boundaries.


Know your limits: Fantasy Fest can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s important to know your limits when it comes to alcohol consumption. Pace yourself, drink responsibly, and be aware of your own personal tolerance. If you’re feeling unwell or overwhelmed, seek help or find a quiet place to rest.


Designated drivers or transportation: If you plan to consume alcohol during the festival, make arrangements for a designated driver or utilize rideshare services to ensure a safe journey back to your accommodations. Never drink and drive.


Stay together in groups: It’s generally safer to travel in groups, especially late at night. Stick with your friends and avoid going off on your own, particularly in less crowded areas. There is safety in numbers, and it’s easier to look out for one another.


Emergency contacts: Save important phone numbers, including emergency contacts and the festival’s information hotline, in your phone. In case of an emergency, you can quickly access the necessary assistance and support.


Follow local laws and regulations: Key West has its own set of laws and regulations that must be followed. Familiarize yourself with these regulations to avoid any legal issues during your time at Fantasy Fest. Respect the community and its residents.


Trust your instincts: If you ever feel uncomfortable or sense any potential danger, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation. It’s better to prioritize your safety and well-being above all else.


Remember, safety is a shared responsibility. Festival organizers, security personnel, and attendees all play a role in creating a safe and enjoyable environment. By being mindful, responsible, and looking out for one another, we can all ensure that Fantasy Fest is a memorable experience for all the right reasons.



Fantasy Fest in Key West, Florida is a magical and immersive celebration that brings together artists, revelers, and culture enthusiasts from all walks of life. This week-long festival offers a unique blend of vibrant parades, dazzling costumes, electrifying music, and non-stop revelry.


As you dive into the world of Fantasy Fest, you’ll be captivated by the rich history of the festival and its evolution over the years. The dates, themes, and costumes all contribute to the extraordinary atmosphere that permeates every event and activity.


From the breathtaking Grand Parade to the vibrant Street Fair and the captivating Body Painting Contest, Fantasy Fest is a sensory feast that allows attendees to unleash their creativity and immerse themselves in a world where imagination knows no bounds.


Your journey takes you through the bustling Duval Street Party, where music, laughter, and celebration fill the air. And at the Fantasy Fest Royal Coronation Ball, you’ll witness the grandeur of the festival’s royalty and indulge in an evening of elegance and sophistication.


As you navigate Fantasy Fest, it’s essential to follow the tips provided to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. From planning your accommodations and transportation to staying hydrated and respecting the guidelines, taking these precautions will enhance your overall festival experience.


Fantasy Fest is an event that embraces diversity, freedom of expression, and the power of self-identity. It’s a celebration of the arts, culture, and the vibrant spirit of Key West. Whether you participate in the parade, dance the night away on Duval Street, or marvel at the incredible body paintings, Fantasy Fest offers something truly special for everyone.


So, unleash your imagination, embrace your fantasies, and get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Fantasy Fest. Join the thousands of attendees who gather each year to celebrate and create lasting memories in this extraordinary festival. Let your spirit soar, your creativity shine, and be prepared for a week of pure magic in the heart of Key West, Florida.