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KEY WEST (CBSMiami/FKNB) — Thousands of costumed revelers promenaded through Key West’s historic Old Town Friday during the offbeat Masquerade March that began at the city cemetery.

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The march was a highlight of the island city’s Fantasy Fest celebration, a lavish annual masking and costuming festival that continues through Sunday with dozens of events.

The 2014 festival is themed “Animeted Dreams & Adventures,” inspired by Japanese anime and other forms of creative animation.

After several days of rainy weather that forced cancellation or postponement of a few festival events, the Masquerade March was staged under bright afternoon sunshine that transitioned into cloudless dusk.

Some participants were inspired by the festival theme, including a troupe carrying a 20-foot-long blue and orange Japanese-style dragon and an ensemble dressed as animated television and comic book characters.

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Other standouts included an exotic walking “butterfly” whose gauzy spangled wings rose 10 feet in the air, a quartet of spider-women with massive tentacles and minimal costumes, a huge blue furred “wolf” on stilts and a man portraying his own framed portrait.

The madcap march was a prelude to the festival’s annual highlight, Saturday night’s Fantasy Fest Parade. Featuring dozens of glittering motorized floats, costumed marching groups and island-style bands, the parade is to proceed down Key West’s Whitehead and Duval streets in front of some 60,000 fantasy fans.

The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.


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