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Friday, October 19, 2012

Outrageous Key West Parade Highlights ‘Apocalypse’

Revelers are to party like there’s no tomorrow during the Captain Morgan Fantasy Fest Parade set for the night of Saturday, October 27. The lavish procession is the highlight of Key West’s October 19 to 28 Fantasy Fest celebration, themed “A-Conch-Alypse” in a Keys-style salute to an ancient apocalypse prophecy.

The flamboyant parade typically includes more than 50 decorated and motorized floats, many towering two stories high and featuring music, light shows and oversized moving parts. Accompanying them are Caribbean bands, marching groups and street dancers garbed in elaborate sequined and feathered costumes. 

In keeping with the so-called Mayan doomsday prophecy predicting the world’s end in December 2012, the procession’s grand marshals are two internationally renowned experts on the Maya. Drs. Arlen and Diane Chase have spent more than 25 years exploring, mapping and excavating ancient Caracol, one of Central America’s largest Maya cities.

Standout entries in the 2011 Fantasy Fest parade included a "splash park" float with functioning water slides, a replica ship carrying King Neptune and a "Crustaceans on Vacation" float peopled by "crabs" with huge claws.

For the 2012 procession, event organizers encourage participants to draw inspiration from the “A-Conch-Alypse” theme, portraying everything from manic Mayans and prophets of doom to zombies roaming a post-apocalyptic world. 

Pre-parade activities are to begin at noon Saturday with the open-air Duval Street Promenade. Its “doomsday delights” for costumed merrymakers include vendors offering masking and costuming finery, food, libations and live entertainment. 

At 7pm the parade is to begin at Southard and Whitehead streets. Floats, bands and other parade participants are to travel down Whitehead toward the Gulf of Mexico, turn onto Front Street and then proceed the mile down Duval to the Atlantic Ocean. Past parades have drawn more than 60,000 people to enjoy the pageantry.

Key West visitor information is at www.fla-keys.com/keywest.

For more information about top events in Florida take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Florida.