KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – Hurricane Sandy won’t rain on the parade of officials and organizers of Key West’s Fantasy Fest.
“All scheduled events for the remainder of the festival are to continue as planned,” said Linda O’Brien, Fantasy Fest’s director.
Fantasy Fest is an ongoing party where about 60,000 people are expected to attend. The festivities include: a parade, costume competitions, body painting, and drag queen contests.
The costuming and masking festival is expected to continue despite Hurricane Sandy’s projected path.
“We have been and will continue to work closely with local officials and the Key West National Weather Service office to ensure revelers are safe,” said O’Brien.
According to the forecast cone issued by the National Hurricane Center at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Hurricane Sandy will not hit the Keys.
Forecasters have issued a tropical storm warning for parts of the southeast Florida coastline. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Upper Keys, but the Middle Keys and Key West are not under any watches or warnings.
Key West’s meteorologist, Bill South, said he is confident that the watch would not be extended into the Upper Keys. He doesn’t expect significant rainfall, but believes that if tropical storm winds reach the Keys, they should be a minimum of 40 mph.
While the party continues over the weekend, Keys’ Emergency Management Director Irene Toner will continue to monitor Sandy closely, but has no immediate plans for protective actions.
Just like Toner, Key West International Airport’s Director Peter Horton is also taking precautions. He said that the airport’s runways will close only if winds exceed 45 mph.
Although the Keys infrastructure is still operating normally, motorists are urged to use extra caution while driving on exposed roads and bridges during periods of high winds.
For now, the attendees of Fantasy Fest can continue the party over the weekend with very little worry.
For more information on the event, visit FantasyFest.com.