It’s Saturday, the big parade day for Fantasy Fest. The street fair is wrapping up on Duval Street to get the world famous ‘drag’ cleared for tonight’s parade. The weather has been really beautiful (sunny, clear, 80 degrees or so) and there will be a full moon tonight.
Here is video from the Masquerade March and Fantasy Fest yesterday as the “southern route” passed Chelsea House. The March is a walking parade for anyone who wants to join in, either in costume or not. The parade starts at the Key West Cemetery and takes two different routes to Duval Street. Luckily, we have hotels on both routes! The southern route goes past Chelsea House and the northern one goes past the Merlin Guesthouse. At both hotels we set up a bar that serves our coveted rum punch. This year we named our punch recipe our “fang banger”. We also had D.J.’s blasting tunes to get everyone dancing.
The Masquerade March is a free-style parade. People just show up at the Key West cemetary around 5pm and start following the crowd in one direction or another..thats how you end up on the “southern route” or the “northern route” of the parade. The groups are not always equal in size, so its a challenge for our teams at Chelsea and Merlin to anticipate how much punch to make….so we just make a lot!!! We never have leftovers. This year we made up about 55 gallons of rum punch.
Our hotel guests generally start with our party, and then join the parade as it passes by and continues toward Duval Street. We had two great parties this year, one on Truman Avenue out front of Chelsea House,and one on Simonton Street, out front of Merlin Guesthouse. We did something new this year, cooking up hotdogs at Chelsea House to hand out along with our punch, so everyone had a little food to balance the booze.
The photos you are seeing and the video in this post are from the Chelsea House party. I was so busy shooting pictures on Truman, I didn’t make it to the Merlin party. But, Abby (our Merlin manager) had a video camera there and shot these videos for our YouTube channel. There are some great costumes!! I hope you enjoy them. See you on Duval tonight!