Sunday, October 31, 2004

The morning after...Key West's Fantasy Fest

The crowd on Duval Street for this year's Halloween Parade, known as Fantasy Fest, was large and freaky as ever. Unfortunately, many in the crowd have never come so close to public exhibitionism and didn't know how to appreciate the indecency with decency. Too much "agro" behavior...young Miamians, dressed like a basketball team, hopped up on god's knows what concoction, whooping, grabbing, and intimidating too many women in the crowd. The testosterone rattled the nerves of many interested in a more respectful time.
But many, if not most, were there in the best of spirit. A bottle of champagne had done the trick to my lovely partner and I, and we were both proud of our festival-savvy "to-go" containers. Costumes and floats slowly, very slowly, crawled by. A float with the dead wedding party was one of the best with a decidedly Beatlejuice look and feel. And of course there were the professional floats. Groups come to march in the parade from Florida cities, usually Tampa. Invariably dressed as pirates and riding galleon-styled floats, these pros toss beads to the begging millennia. Usually the beads are generously flying into the crowd. This year, I dare say, they were a bit stingy. At least according to my uncorked partner.
If there is one day to extend with daylight savings, I 'm glad it's today. An extra hour to sleep was needed. Indeed!
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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Fantasy Fest's Friday night

Packed. Thats what Duval Street was last night. As vendors sizzled onions and shwarma, scantily clad revelers crowded Key West's main party artery. Body paint covered a collection of boobs that ranged in size and shape like the produce section at the supermarket. For all those that think this is heaven, be warned: most of those who choose to expose are not "Bay Watch" material. Many are grannies or gargoyles.
Mostly it's in a fun, heavily buzzed atmosphere. Some costumes are creative (the guy dressed as a large Queen Angelfish with an extendable tongue was a laugh), some costumes are mass produced (the inflatable sumo wrestlers in the crowd), and some costumes are little more than body paint.
The Festival keeps gaining a bit of a corporate tone, with it's Captain Morgan sponsorship and the hawking of everything including an official DVD, t-shirt, beads, yada yada yada.
If I could change one thing, magically that is, I'd make the cameras disappear. Too many people crowd around anything bawdy like a bunch of paperazzi's. Many are trying to create some type of "gone wild" video. Rather, let's just enjoy it as it happens. Forget about taking pictures.
Today is the big parade...Actually tonight. The street festival continues for the day, and by night seventy-thousand people will line Duval and watch one of America's wierder parades.
Now I just have to get rid of this hangover. I'm glad I didn't end up going tarpon fishing at the crack of dawn. Last night, in typical drunken bravado, I said to a friend "sure, I'm in...tarpon fishing in the a.m." I left my phone off.
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Friday, October 29, 2004

Fantasy Fest swirls the island.

This week Key West is in the midst of celebrating Fantasy Fest, the week long mardi-gras/bawdy carnival. After this years hurricane season, locals are welcoming the fall festival's crowds and their dollars.
Just using the term Fantasy Fest is in question as the TDC (tourist development council) has expressly warned everyone that even using the term is an ifringement of their copyright.
Today is the masquarade march, which the locals parade along two different routes throughout Old Town and end up on Duval. As the procession goes by, many hop off their front porches and join the saunter.
Tomorrow is the "big day", with a big sponsored parade on Duval, where beads and boobs are the hot commodity.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Key West one.

It has been said that in Key West, everyone is running hiding or escaping something. Well, times are a changin' on the tiny island, and today, many aren't fleeing the mainland. They are just looking for a nice second home, spend a few months ("when it's not too warm"), and hopefully, find themselves surrounded by people much less mainstream than their Northern Mainstream neighborhoods.
This is my blog, a local of Key West.
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