10/19/2018 - 4:00pm to 10/28/2018 - 12:00pm
When is Fantasy Fest 2018?
Fantasy Fest 2018 runs 10 days, from October 19th to October 28th, with this year's theme being "Oh...The Games We Play!". Not sure where to stay for Fantasy Fest 2018? At Home in Key West still has amazing vacation rentals available that are right downtown and put you in the heart of this legendary event. Search our Key West rentals now and find the perfect place to stay for your trip!
A Little Bit of Fantasy Fest History
The first Fantasy Fest was held in 1979 when two local businessmen organized a party to stimulate business during a typically slow time of year. The amount of people that join this festival every year ranges from 25,000 to 75,000 -- twice the population of the island. Since then the event has escalated to a ten-day celebration that includes balls, a parade, costume competitions, AIDS fundraisers, body painting, drag queen contests, and pet and neighborhood parades for the whole family. Fantasy Fest has grown to rival New Orleans Mardi Gras as an event drawing out-of-towners.
Fantasy Fest's Best Events
This free 2-day event (October 19th and 20th) traditionally kicks off Fantasy Fest and is held in Key West’s historic Bahama Village neighborhood, lasting from noon to midnight both days. The lively Goombay is known for its island-style food, arts and crafts, nonstop live entertainment and dancing in the streets. Visitors can experience sights, sounds and flavors recalling Key West’s Bahamian heritage.
~Friday, Oct. 19th~
It’s one final caucus with the candidates for King & Queen of Fantasy Fest! This fabulous 2-hour stage show includes entertainment by local celebrities and the candidates themselves. General admission is a suggested $10 donation at the door. VIP seating available as well which includes a 3-course dinner and reserved seating, available for $95. This is a benefit for AIDS Help, Inc.
~Sunday, Oct. 21~
Zombie Bike Ride
Key West Zombie bike ride is the most creative and colorful bike ride Key West – and possibly the world – has ever seen! If your alter ego is a zombie, ghoul, ghost, sugar skull, or another member of the undead, then this is the event for you! The Zombie Bike Ride was created in 2009 by Marky Pierson of Wonderdog Studios and Evan Haskell & Chris Needham of WeCycle Bike Shop. The bike ride quickly grew from a couple hundred people to nearly 5,000 in 2013.
The party starts at Fort East Martello at 2pm, boasting live music, entertain and vendors with food, drinks and t-shirts. Face painting is first come first served and start at 2pm. The ride starts at 6pm and is a little over four miles long and takes a leisurely pace down US1 along the Atlantic Ocean, right at sunset. A police escort leads the ride down US1, past the Zombie Beach Bash at Salute’s On The Beach, and then down to Duval Street where the Zombie Fest continues. If you prefer to watch rather than ride you can join hundreds of onlookers all along the Beach. This is a family-friendly event, very popular among locals. The registration fee is $5.
~Monday, Oct. 22~
Heroes & Villains Run/Walk 5K
Dress up as your favorite Superhero or Super Villain and run, walk or fly to the finish line. There is free beer and snacks after the race! Advanced registration is $25.
~Tuesday, Oct. 23~
Venetian Masquerade Ball
This is a masked night of mystery filled with irony, disguise, laughter and revelry. Dress up as a count or countess, put on your mask and join an evening full of entertainment with acrobats, magicians and riveting music direct from Las Vegas. The Ball is hosted in the elegant Flagler Ballroom within the Marriott Beachside Hotel Marriott Beachside Hotel. Interpretive attire is required. Entrance fee is $175 per person.
Put on your tutu and come to Waterfront Brewery for the 9th Annual Tutu party. The theme is PROM so dress your best. This is a fun event full of dancing. $20 wristband admission, tutu is required to enter.
~Wednesday, Oct. 24~
This is the time to show off the perfect outfit of your furry friend and enter one of the 4 categories. You will see a magic carousel of frisky pets and playful owners, all delightfully disguised, stroll, dance and even skateboard across a stage in a fun frolic for fame and fortune! Masquerade takes place at the new Key West Amphitheater at the Truman Waterfront Park and benefits the Lower Keys Friends of Animals. Food and beverage will be available on site. $25 entry fee to participate, free to watch.
Fogarty's Red Party
Everything is red this evening! RED decorations, RED lights, RED drinks, and RED beach balls. You are also required to wear as much red as you can. Live DJ will be on site and the annual party takes place at Fogarty’s. This year the cover charge has been WAIVED in lieu of IRMA.
~Thursday, Oct. 25~
36th Annual Headdress Ball
This is one of the most popular events of Fantasy Fest, this year taking place at the Key West Amphitheater at the Truman Waterfront Park. Over twenty five contestants will parade their Headdress creations on the amphitheater stage to vie for the $3,000 first prize. Rude Girl will be your DJ for the night, show starts at 8PM. This event always sells out so book your tickets early! Tickets are available at keystix.com.
Sloppy Joe's 35th Annual Toga Party
One of the original Fantasy Fest events, contestants must be dressed in a toga and are encouraged to dress in Ancient Roman theme or be creative using the Fantasy Fest theme “OH…the games we play” for their toga. The party starts at 8PM and the best togas will be awarded at 9:30PM. The Toga Party is free to attend.
~Friday, Oct. 26~
Fantasy Fest Street Fair
Duval Street's mile-long eater-tainment extravaganza features arts and crafts, food vendors, lively libations and costumed frivolity. This is the time to show off your costume, strut down Duval, eat and drink to your heart’s content. This annual event is never the same year-to-year as an ever-changing variety of vendors, sponsors and performers set up along Key West’s most magical mile. The street fair runs from noon until midnight with the 200 and 300 blocks staying open later to keep the party going. This is a FREE event.
The Masquerade March is also known as the People’s parade, which is very popular especially among Key West locals. Put your best costume on and join the crowd on Frances Street by Key West Cemetery. The march starts at 5:30 PM and there are two routes through Old Town heading to Duval Street, one on Truman Avenue, and one on Fleming. Thirst quenchers provided at selected guesthouses. Masquerade March is a free event, everyone is welcome.
~Saturday, Oct. 27~
Bud Light Fantasy Fest Parade
This is the highlight of Fantasy Fest, the event everyone is waiting for. Tens of thousands of spectators converge to cheer the parade’s elaborately costumed marching groups, dancers in bright feathered costumes and dazzling motorized floats, including one carrying the annually elected King and Queen of Fantasy Fest. Parade begins at 7 PM, the route starts at the end of Southard Street, proceeds to Whitehead Street and then Duval Street. This is a free event.
~Sunday, Oct. 28~
A family event featuring food, rides, games, arts and crafts and a costume contest for children located at Bayview Park, from noon to 5PM.
"The Fat Lady Sings" Tea Dance
As the saying goes, “It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.” DJ Rude Girl provides the music for the very last hoorah at La Te Da from 4-8PM. The admission is $5.
Where to Stay for Fantasy Fest
We are happy to offer these great vacation rentals particularly close by to all festivities. If these three don't suit your needs, we have plenty more vacation rentals around Key West. Don't hesitate to contact our local team for further help and recommendations for booking your stay.
- Tropical Dreaming
- Key West Charming
- Sunset Celebration
- A Barefoot Retreat
- Bahamian Reed
- Breezy Bungalow
- City Cay
You can also search all of our vacation rentals for your desired stay dates during the event.
Where to Eat During Fantasy Fest
There are plenty of great places to eat close to the festival venues so you can quickly and easily get between them. We have some details about some of the restaurants below on our Key West Restaurants page, but you can also visit each of the restaurant websites by clicking the links below.
- La Trattoria
- Onlywood Pizzeria Trattoria
- The Café
- 7 Fish
- 2 Cent’s Restaurant & Pub
- Blue Macaw Island Eats & Bar
- Jack Flats
- Firefly Key West
- La Te Da
- Santiagos Bodega
- Blue Haven
- Bliss Restaurant Key West
- DJ Clam’s Shack
- Caroline’s Café
Fantasy Fest Parking Tips
Since the events are located in areas with very limited parking we do recommend the most popular way of transportation in Key West, which is by bike. We now also have Uber and Taxis are always available as well. If you still decide to drive, there are plenty of spots with metered parking close by.
For more information on Key West's Fantasy Fest 2018 and to view the full Fantasy Fest schedule, please visit www.FantasyFest.com