'TV Jeebies' Is Theme of Key West Fantasy Fest

Reed Travel Features

KEY WEST, Fla. -- "TV Jeebies," celebrating America's love affair with television, is the theme of this year's Fantasy Fest, slated for Oct. 17 to 26.

The Key West event is a local version of New Orleans' Mardi Gras and Halloween. Activities include the Oct. 17 Goombay Celebration Friday in Bahama Village, a two-day event with calypso music, island food and arts and crafts. On the same night, a two-month fund-raising effort on behalf of AIDS Help concludes with the selection of the Fantasy Fest King and Queen ceremony at the Key West Hilton Resort and Marina.

Elaborate masked balls are scheduled for Oct. 18 at La Te Da and Oct. 20 at Club Epoch.

The Pet Masquerade and Parade, both slated for Oct. 22, are to be held at Marriott's Casa Marina Resort. Here, four-footed animals and birds -- as well as their owners -- compete in costume. Later that night, the Celebrities Look-Alike Contest will take place at the Holiday Inn La Concha, followed by the Baywatch Beach Party at the Hog's Breath Saloon.

On Oct. 23, the Boob Tube Babes tea dance and competition will be staged at the Atlantic Shores. Also that evening, Sloppy Joe's and the Green Parrot taverns will have a Toga Party and Happy Days Costume Party, respectively. Another event on the evening of Oct. 23, hosted by the Pier House Resort & Caribbean Spa, is the Pretenders in Paradise costume competition, in which designers from around the world are represented.

"TV Jeebies" begins with the Fantasy Fest Street Fair on Oct. 24, marked by foods and the crafts of artisans and mask makers from around the U.S. Complementing the street fair is the 801 Pub's Tea Dance in the Street. The procession ends at the pier at the Ocean Key House Resort. At sunset, the costumed contestants vie for prizes in the Masquerade Fantasies Costume Competition.

The Coors Light Fantasy Fest Parade, Oct. 25 along Duval Street, is the highlight of the celebration and features floats, bands and dancing groups. Before the main event, the Duval Street Promenade is the setting for purveyors of local delicacies and local performers (both professional singers and dancers). La Te Da's Tea Dance in the Street is held then, as well.

The festival concludes Oct. 26 with Children's Day at Bayview Park.

For a brochure, contact the Key West Visitors Bureau, (800) LAST-KEY or (305) 294-2587. The Web site address is http://www.fla-keys.com.

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