A Long, Strange Trip

Fill up the gas tank and pack all the, um, supplies you’ll need for a fun car ride down to the Keys. It’s that time of year again, when the southernmost point in the continental United States goes on a ten-day bender of costumes, culture, and debauchery. You won’t want to miss Fantasy Fest. This year’s theme is Key Weird on the Dis-Oriented Express, and revelers are raising the bar to new levels of bacchanalia.

The official Key West Goombay Festival will kick off the festivities today, restoring the 27-year tradition. (Last year the ceremonies were separated because of the busy hurricane season.) Bahamian revelers in traditional costume will turn Duval and Petronia streets into a giant block party both today and Saturday, October 21. Feast on spicy island food and enjoy live entertainment by the Royal Bahamian Police Band today from noon to 11:00 p.m. Call 305-295-7184, or visit www.goombay-keywest.org.

If this is your first visit to Key West during its zaniest celebration, listen to Kirsten Koci, the fest’s assistant director. “Visit our Website and get a schedule. There are 39 events this year! Eight are new,” she says. New events include the Hot Wench and Wicked Pirate Tea Dance, the adults-only Freekfest Ball and Fetish Party, and the Wyland Gallery’s “Fantasy of Art” extravaganza. Many happenings have themes like the Wild West (thanks a lot, Brokeback Mountain) and inspired variations on pirates, so choose a versatile costume. Koci recommends the Fairvilla Megastore, a costume shop stocked to the hilt with wacky gear. Or just paint your body -- that always works. Then join the fun on Duval Street on Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28. Call 305-296-1817, or visit www.fantasyfest.net.
Oct. 20-28
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Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik