Revelers dressed as leering evildoers, stalwart action heroes and other captivating characters are to parade through Key West's historic Old Town Friday, Oct. 25, during the anything-goes Fantasy Fest Masquerade March.
The march is a highlight of the annual pre-Halloween festival scheduled Oct. 18-27. Themed "Super Heroes, Villains... & Beyond," Fantasy Fest features more than 40 colorful events for masked and costumed partiers.
The masquerade march typically draws spirited bands and merrymakers wearing everything from feathered masks and dazzling costumes to finery inspired by the annual festival theme.
Free to enter and watch, the 2013 promenade is to start at 5 p.m. at the Key West Cemetery's Frances Street entrance. Participants are to proceed along two routes, stopping for libations at bed-and-breakfast inns along the way.
Spectators typically line the streets of Key West's historic district, applauding and sometimes joining in, before the march reaches its end at the Fantasy Fest Street Fair on mile-long Duval Street.
Past years' participants have included wild-eyed zombies in tattered garb, a male quartet in matching Wonder Woman costumes and a group of "crab people" wearing little more than oversized orange "claws."
The march is a prelude to the annual festival highlight, the Oct. 26 Captain Morgan Fantasy Fest Parade through Key West's downtown district. The glittering procession is to include dozens of elaborately decorated floats, costumed marching groups and high-energy island-style bands.
Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, who on Sept. 2 became the first person to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys without a shark cage, is to be the parade's grand marshal.
Event information: www.fantasyfest.com
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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