October’s traditionally one of the slower months in tourist-reliant Key West, so way back in 1979 the locals decided to throw an off-season party. Now in its fourth decade, Fantasy Fest has grown into a ten-day festival during which locals and visitors careen back and forth between costume parties, pool parties and parades.
Out-of-towners show up fully prepared with makeup and costumes for each of the fest’s events: from the “Dirty Doctors and Naughty Nurses” party to the toga party, the pirate party, the headdress ball, the all-male blacklight slumber party, and even the ABC (Anything But Clothes) party, which is surely the easiest party to pack for. Seriously, this is a big deal. The festival’s official guidebook is 64-pages long.
Photographer Andrew Printer has lived all over the world. Born in Hong Kong, but now makes his home in Key West. He zipped around all week for us during the festival, capturing some of the colorful characters taking advantage of the town’s hot climate.
The event is inclusive of queers and families, as well as anyone else who can get on board with events like a Star Wars burlesque show, a tighty-whitey party with dancers from famed male-revue La Bare, or an event that’s mysteriously called “King Neptune’s Curse: Aliens vs. Coast Guard.”
Previously published November 14, 2015.