You might still be recovering from last year's party, but it's time for parades, beads, wild costumes, and unthinkable debauchery. The theme for the 27th annual Key West Fantasy Fest is Freaks, Geeks, and Goddesses, and the festival, which kicks off today with a Goombay Celebration from noon to midnight, is packed with plenty of scary, silly, and downright naughty parties.
It was a dark and stormy night ... or at least we hope it will be when you meet Robert the Doll. The infamous doll, who has been described as looking a bit like a Michael Jackson/Curious George hybrid, is one creepy dude. Legend says Robert was given to a young Gene Otto by the daughter of mistreated Bahamian servants in 1904. Made with human hair and, apparently, a dash of voodoo, Robert continues to trick visitors by moving his toy lion from one knee to the other and causing camera malfunctions when being photographed. In celebration of Robert's second century of freaking people out, as well as the debut of a new, haunting exhibit, the Key West Art & Historical Society (3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd.; 305-295-6616) presents "Blame It on Robert! A Night of 101 Hauntings, Scares, and Screams." On Sunday, October 23, from 7:30 to 11:00, you can enjoy an evening of frozen tropical drinks, ghost tours, costume contests, and delicious offerings from the Caribbean buffet. Tickets cost $35 ($75 for VIP) in advance, and proceeds benefit Easter Seals Florida/Keys Region. Visit www.kwahs.com.
Fans of Slayer, Metallica, and Iron Maiden won't want to miss the Deadbanger's Ball on Monday, October 24, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight at the Top at La Concha Hotel (430 Duval St.). The Original Ghost Tours presents an evening of heavy metal music and costume contests. With big hair swinging and spandex abounding, you can win cash prizes for best dead rock star, best groupie, and best group. The grand prize is an autographed AC/DC electric guitar. Rock on! Admission is $25, which includes a T-shirt and buffet. Call 305-294-9255, or visit www.hauntedtours.com.
Fantasy Fest events continue through Sunday, October 30. Call 305-296-1817, or visit www.fantasyfest.net for a complete schedule. Lyssa Oberkreser
Halloween starts here
With Halloween lurking just around the corner, fright-lovers have a bubbling cauldron of events to anticipate at Miami-Dade parks. This weekend celebrate the spooky season with two very different events. Those with deep pockets can enjoy some wild Halloween fun at Miami Metrozoo (12400 SW 152nd St., Miami). The Feast with the Beast began in 1988 as an annual fundraiser, and the festivity continued until 1999. After a six-year hiatus, this decadent event is back by popular demand. Watch the critters that come out at night, sip cocktails at the open bar, and devour delicacies from more than 40 of Miami's finest restaurants, including Gatsby's, Norman's, and SushiSamba Dromo. Prowl the zoo tonight at 8:00. Tickets cost $150. Call 305-255-5551, or visit www.fwtb.org.
The annual Halloween event at Cutler Ridge Park (10100 SW 200th St., Cutler Ridge) will offer affordable, family-friendly fun. Bring the little ones out tomorrow night from 5:00 to 9:00 for carnival rides, crafts, and games. Get your eek on at the haunted house, and scare up a victory at the costume contest. Admission is free. Call 305-238-4166. Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Showing the Family Jewels
Hit your man up for some bling
The Miami Beach Antique Jewelry, Watch, and Fine Silver Show is a best friend to the treasure hound. Antique and modern necklaces, rings, pendants, colored gemstones, and wrist and pocket watches will dazzle the eyes in Miami Beach this weekend.
For high rollers, there is an exquisite late Victorian diamond and sapphire cluster necklace set in silver on gold, featuring 21 Burmese sapphires with a combined weight of 22.7 carats and 244 Old European-cut diamonds weighing a total of 30 carats. We'll take it! Dealers with vintage items from Tiffany, Cartier, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Van Cleef & Arpels, among others, will help men spoil their wives and girlfriends. Also on display will be some celebrity-owned pieces for the starry-eyed. The diamonds will be forever yours today through Sunday, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. Sunday) at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Hall B, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach. Admission is $12. Call 305-673-7311, or visit www.dmgantiqueshows.com. Ilona Solomom
Booking for Bargains
You'll look much smarter if you actually have books on your shelves instead of tchotchkes from South of the Border, so check out the fifth annual Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library Book Sale. Featuring more than 50,000 books, tapes, and records yes, records the sale offers everything from the classics you should have read in high school to trashy paperbacks that will make you blush if you're caught reading them on the bus.
Friends of the Library members get first dibs at today's Members-Only Preview Sale from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Not a member? You can join for a $15 donation and gain access to the private reception tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 in the Main Library Auditorium (101 W. Flagler St., Miami). The hours for this weekend's sale are 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday; and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Most books are priced two dollars and under. For more information, call 305-375-5017, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Lyssa Oberkreser
Note: Owing to Hurricane Wilma, many of this weekend's events have been postponed or canceled. Please call ahead to confirm.