Mangrove Marina

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Fantasy Fest is an annual 10-day party in the Florida Keys

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Although Florida has become well-known as a family fun destination, we have plenty of fun adventures for adults, too. There’s something here for everyone, from people traveling solo to couples on romantic getaways. Fantasy Fest is one of those exciting adventures, and it’s coming soon. This year, Fantasy Fest runs from October 21st through the 30th and has a “Cult Classics and Cartoon Chaos Theme.” It’s time to start making your Fantasy Fest travel plans now!

What is Fantasy Fest?

The weather in Key West has always been warm and accommodating year-round, but the little island tends to become quite peaceful in the winter when it comes to tourism. Shops would close for the season, and streets would become quiet and still. While some residents might have enjoyed the break, it wasn’t good for anyone’s livelihood, so in 1979, a few business owners put their heads together to come up with ideas for attracting visitors to the area.

Business owners Bill Conkle, Tony Falcone, Joe Liszka, and Frank Romano were inspired by the possibilities of October. While this month might be known for sweater weather and pumpkin spice elsewhere, here in the Keys, our sun is still warm and the water is fine: perfect for partying with a twist of mystery and magic as a nod to the spooky season.

They unveiled a parade that combined the mystery of Halloween with the magic of costuming. It was a small parade but memorable. Over the years, it has become the Fantasy Fest we know and love today: a wild mix of costume parties, masking, street fairs, marches, and balls, all leading up to the grand finale, the Fantasy Fest Parade.

What to Do

While the idea behind Fantasy Fest ® was to bring visitors to the Keys, it has grown to become a celebration of Key culture with diverse events scattered throughout the 10-day festival. Participants can explore and engage in a wide variety of activities and events, including fundraisers for non-profit organizations, events supporting local artists, commitments to environmental actions, and support for local businesses and people.

The 10-day event has plenty of crowd-pleasing favorites from events past but also innovative new ideas and activities, such as the recent addition of the Fantasy Zone Festival Hubs, where you can pose for a Photo Op with your traveling partners or new friends and meet local concierges, who have their fingers on the pulses of all the hottest happenings for the week. You can also purchase festival “merch” here, including koozies, hats, and t-shirts.

Events this year include:

  • Cabaret and burlesque shows
  • Body painting
  • Karaoke parties
  • Bicentennial exhibit at the historical society
  • Art exhibit
  • Costumes
  • Zombie bike ride and Zombiefest
  • Beard contest
  • Heroes and Villains 5K
  • Kinky Carnival

Pool parties, costume parties, and numerous plays, musicals, and shows round out the schedule of events, and you’ll be busy picking and choosing how to spend your time here.

Where to Stay

This vibrant 10-day festival is a celebration of everything Key West and the Florida Keys, and you don’t want to miss a moment. At Mangrove Marina in Tavernier, we welcome Fantasy Fest visitors to our luxury houseboat rentals. You can stay in your own personal houseboat, enjoying the sun rising and setting over the water while you sip coffee or wine on your deck with your toes dangling in the bay. You can prepare your meals in the well-appointed kitchenette, kick back with wi-fi or cable during your downtime, and relax in our heated, freshwater pool. We even have barbecue facilities, Tiki huts, and gardens for your exclusive use. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your reservations.

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