By Ian Whitney
I’ll begin by pointing out that while our Fantasyfest experience is hardly unique, it is from the perspective of two guys in their twenties who happen to be lucky enough to live in Key West all year. For us, Fantasyfest begins a week before the parade with Goombay, a Caribbean street party. There is great people watching, street food and steel drums.
Depending on our work and volunteer commitments, we usually attend 801’s fetish party on Monday night, where we get to see the wild side of our friends and tourists. Tuesday is the Headdress Ball, and we’ve been lucky enough to work at this event for the past three years. It’s one of the big gay events of the year, showcasing an amazing amount of creativity. It usually sells out in advance, including standing room. Wednesday is usually our night in, because we know we’ll be out the rest of the week. While there are several parties happening on Thursday, it’s usually our night to kick-off the crazy weekend with our friends, and we’ll check out the show at Aqua and then head over to Bourbon Street Pub and see who is in town.
One of my favorite events is the Masquerade March. We get dressed up with our friends and march in a parade. This year Island House is hosting the big, all-male party Friday night along with the Key West Wreckers. Their parties are always fun, memorable and playful.
Saturday is the big day, with the street fair and Bourbon Street Pub Tea Dance in the street. They’ll have hot dancers and great entertainers. The parade Saturday night lasts for hours. Amazing floats, lots of beads, and of course, lots of fun costumes. After the parade the street opens up, and it becomes a party to remember.
To be completely honest, we haven’t made it out on Sunday. Something about getting up Friday morning, sleeping four or five hours that night and then staying up until it’s light out Sunday morning makes us want to hide out at home!
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Ian Whitney, 29, works for the Key West Innkeepers Association and serves on the board of the Key West Business Guild. He’s lived in Key West with his partner Justin for the past 7 1/2 years.