KEY WEST (CBSMiami) — More than 2,000 eerily costumed zombies pedaled bicycles beside the Atlantic Ocean and through the streets of the Southernmost City in the Continental U.S. at the annual Zombie Bike Ride in Key West.
The ride attracted participants wearing everything from dead-white face paint and “traditional” zombie costumes to garb spoofing political and current events.
One woman’s attire mocked a 1983 incident when presidential candidate Mitt Romney drove on a vacation trip with his dog Seamus in a car-top pet carrier.
Another bicycling zombie pulled a cart carrying an actual canine whose costume included two extra heads.
The early Sunday evening Zombie Bike Ride coincided with the start of Key West’s annual 10-day Fantasy Fest costuming and masking festival that continues through Sunday.
The festival began Friday night at a coronation ball where locals Mark Patterson and Liz Ketcham were crowned king and queen. The aspiring royals campaigned by raising money for the Florida Keys’ AIDS Help organization. They collected nearly $142,000.
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.
Officials say the colorful annual event has a $30 million impact in the Keys. The first Fantasy Fest was in 1979.