Villians, action heroes and other characters are set to parade through Key West’s historic Old Town Oct. 25 during the anything-goes Fantasy Fest Masquerade March.
The march is a highlight of the annual pre-Halloween festival, 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 crowds wearing feathered masks and dazzling costumes. Free to enter and watch, the 2013 promenade starts at 5 p.m. at the Key West Cemetery’s Frances Street entrance. Participants march along two routes, stopping for drinks and treats 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 ends at the Fantasy Fest Street Fair on Duval Street.
Past years’ participants have included wild-eyed zombies in tattered clothing, 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 the downtown district. The glittering procession includes dozens of decorated floats, costumed marchers and 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.