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KEY WEST (FKNB) – Revelers in huge, lavish masks and headdresses — some towering far higher than their wearers — made “headlines” at Key West’s Headdress Ball, a highlight of the 10-day Fantasy Fest costuming and masking festival that ends Sunday, Oct. 29.

Many competitors in Thursday night’s event wore headdresses adorned with exotic feathers, offbeat accessories and even moving parts.

The winning entry was Randal Lair’s gigantic “Alice in Wonderland”-inspired ensemble incorporating a white rabbit, large-scale purple mushrooms and lush colorful flowers. Longtime competitor Virginia Wark took second place in a headdress that featured whirling visionary timepieces, in keeping with Fantasy Fest’s 2017 theme of “Time Travel Unravels.”

kwp01 “Over The Top” Headdresses Take The Stage At Fantasy Fest 2017

Virginia Wark competes in the Fantasy Fest Headdress Ball Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Key West, Fla. Wark was among those who took honors in the contest for her interpretation of the festival’s “Time Travel Unravels” theme. Fantasy Fest concludes Sunday, Oct. 29, highlighted by a planned Saturday, Oct. 28, evening parade down the island’s Duval Street.  (Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

Despite being judged only on their masks and headdresses, many contestants were costumed from head to toe. The “over-the-top” event, organized by the Key West Business Guild, also included performances by female impersonator Randy Roberts and other entertainers.

Upcoming Fantasy Fest highlights include a masquerade march that begins at the local cemetery and Saturday night’s elaborate parade through Key West’s historic downtown.

Large crowds are expected for the festival’s final weekend, but Florida Keys tourism officials say a few hotel rooms are still available in Key West and in other parts of the Keys. They stress that reservations are necessary to ensure accommodations.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)


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