KEY WEST (CBSMiami/AP) — The masked balls, parties and costume competitions of Fantasy Fest are underway in Key West.
At the Friday night coronation ball, locals Mark Patterson and Liz Ketcham were crowned king and queen of the 10-day festival. Aspiring royals campaigned by raising money for the Florida Keys’ AIDS Help organization. They collected nearly $142,000.
Officials say the flamboyant annual festival has a $30 million impact in the Keys. The first Fantasy Fest was in 1979.
Fantasy Fest culminates Oct. 27 with a nighttime parade featuring costumed marching groups, Caribbean bands and floats.
This year’s theme, “A-Conch-Alypse,” spoofs an ancient apocalypse prophecy. The Florida Keys island chain was nicknamed the “Conch Republic” after a tongue-in-cheek secession from the U.S. in 1982.
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