Fantasy Fest in Key West Was HOT

As you may know, Key West is one of my favorite places to actually get away. It embodies all of my escape essentials: Sun, unbeatable wine and cocktail selections, and fabulous dining options. I have traveled to Key West a number of times and all I ever heard from locals was “You have never done a Fantasy Fest?” I always thought that the appropriate way to ask was “You have never been here for Fantasy Fest?” But I can say with confidence that it is something you DO, not something you attend!

Fantasy Fest 2013 was held October 18-27 and the theme was “Super Heroes, Villains and Beyond.” The first Fantasy Fest was held in 1979 when two local businessmen organized a party to stimulate business. The event has escalated to a ten day celebration that includes balls, a parade, costume competitions, AIDS fundraisers, body painting, drag queen contests, costume parties, alcohol, and pet and neighborhood parades for the whole family. Fantasy Fest has grown to rival New Orleans’ Mardi Gras as an event drawing out-of-towners.

Do the math: 10 days, 24 hours per day equals 240 hours of partying! I am a firm believer of “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” and I did. I went to every party and wore every outfit. I. WAS. TIRED. But it was so worth it!

The only way I can best recall each day and advise a full-proof plan for fun is to share my staples: Breakfast, sun, cocktails, dinner and entertainment!

Breakfast is a must. Especially after a fun night out and the best place on the island for a fun and a satisfying breakfast is Blue Heaven (blueheavenkw.com). The best “keep the party going” food and breakfast cocktails live here. The sun will find you no matter where you go, so my best advice is to enjoy it and head out for cocktails. Key West is known for its key limes, more importantly, its Key Lime Martini. By far the bestI have found is at The White Tarpon located at 700 Front Street. You will think you are drinking a piece of key lime pie, but I promise you will feel better than if you ate it.

As the evening rolls in, a fabulous dinner is always a must! Café Marquesa, found in the Marquesa Hotel (marquesa.com) will not disappoint! The menu is second to none and the wine list is the best on the island. In Key West, a night out is crucial, but before you close the night in true Key West fashion, you must pop into Adam Scott Rote Galleries Key West (adamscottrotegalleries.com) where the perfect combination of artists come together to create the most memorable experience to satisfy any art lover.

After a five star meal and a five star art experience, what does a boy or girl want? A good old-fashioned drag show! There are a few fabulous choices on the Island, but my favorite is Sushi’s Girls (801girls.com) at 801 Bourbon Bar (801bourbon.com). The show is certain to put you in the mood to enjoy what Key West has to offer, or show your date what you have to offer!

The 2014 Fantasy Fest theme is “Animéted Dreams and Adventures” and will be held October 17-26, 2014. For more info, visit fantasyfest.com

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