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Key West's Fantasy Fest is on but no parade or street fair

By AP | Sep 1, 2021

KEY WEST  (AP) — An annual celebration of debauchery and outrageous costumed parties in the Florida Keys is canceling its famous parade this year due to the state’s surge in COVID-19 cases, but events connected to the 42-year-old festival are still being held, according to planners.

The Fantasy Fest parade and a street fair in Key Fest slated for the end of October have been canceled because of the pandemic, and a masquerade march through the city’s Old Town section has been put on hold until organizers can determine that it’s safe to hold, Nadene Grossman Orr, the festival’s director said in a statement earlier this week.

Attendees of the adult-oriented festival are being asked to be fully vaccinated and they should come prepared with proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test and face masks, she said.

“We cannot look into the future, but we can certainly see what is happening in our community today, and the impact that the new variant of COVID-19 has made,” Grossman Orr said. “Fantasy Fest – will look different this year but it is not canceled!”

In pre-pandemic times, the 10-day festival attracted as many as 75,000 visitors each year around Halloween for dozens of adult parties, costumed marches, street fairs and balls. The highlight of the festival was the Fantasy Fest parade, a Mardi Gras-worthy procession of floats, as well as costumed and often scantily-dressed revelers.