Postcards from Key West: From Fur to Fantasy, Key West Offers Upcoming Delights

Recently I was in Philadelphia at the 21st annual convention of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. I caught up with many colleagues including Fred Karger, the first openly gay candidate for president of the U.S.  Fred wants to come to Key West and meet with our LGBT community and tour the island for the first time. It would be fun to have him here if he can manage it during his busy schedule!

I left Philadelphia the day before the rains came, and was very pleased to be out and about in Key West instead of stuck in a hotel room watching the liquid sunshine.

Speaking of out and about, I stopped at the Bourbon St. Pub for the Saturday pool party and tea dance.  A fun crowd played volleyball in the pool while playing Bourbon St.’s version of ring toss. Stop by when you’re here and try your hand; drinks are BOGO — buy one and get one free!

Key West Bear Fest starts Sept. 22 for a weekend of fur, bears, otters and cubs.  Feast on bear-size portions at Antonia’s, Square One, and Braza Lena. Frolic with the bears at pool parties, bear drag shows, and late-night parties to welcome the sunrise. This third year of our Bear Fest is shaping up to be one of the best ever.

I am way too busy with the Fantasy Fest king and queen candidates’ events, which are heating up everyone’s schedules for the next month. Recently Dave for King hosted an orchid auction with more than 125 attendees, and Sunshine had a Key lime barbeque party at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe.

Fantasy Fest and the Headdress Ball are just around the corner.

Also running for king is Rebecca Shilling (yes, she’s running for king!).  Elizabeth “Liz” Ketcham and Surrey Westrupp are the candidates for queen. The ones who raise the most money for the Keys’ AIDS Help organization win the coveted crowns — so, if you’re here, try to attend some of the unique events these locals have conjured up.

Sea monsters and creatures from the deep, mermen and mermaids will surface Friday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 30, during the island’s annual Fantasy Fest, themed “Aquatic Afrolic” this year. For more than 30 years, we’ve celebrated during the last week of October with toga parties, the gala Headdress Ball, Goombay street festival, a lavish over-the-top parade and much more. Visit the Fantasy Fest website for a list of all the events and plan to visit us for the festivities — there are still accommodations available.

Speaking of festivities, the recent Womenfest had more than 200 people attending the poolside kick-off party at the Southernmost Hotel.

If you missed this year’s festival, mark your calendar for the 2012 event, set for Sept. 4-9, 2012. 

Till next time!

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