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10-day Fantasy Fest begins in Florida Keys

Posted at 3:35 AM, Oct 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-19 23:41:28-04

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Florida Keys officials are hoping Key West’s flamboyant annual Fantasy Fest will provide needed tourism revenue following Hurricane Irma.

The 10-day schedule of masquerade balls, parties and costume competitions begins Friday.

Conceived in 1979 to attract visitors, the festival traditionally brings about $30 million to the Keys each year. Its impact on the tourism-based economy, which employs about 50 percent of the local workforce, is particularly important this year, as recovery continues after Irma’s Sept. 10 passage through the island chain.

Themed “Time Travel Unravels,” the festival will feature events including a costume contest for pets, the exotic Headdress Ball and a masquerade march beginning at the Key West cemetery.

The festival’s highlight is an Oct. 28th evening parade expected to draw tens of thousands of revelers.

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