Key West, Florida
Looking for that perfect costume? You might get some ideas from last night’s Fantasy Fest Parade and bacchanal in Key West.
Then again, different communities have different standards and no one ever accused Key West of having excessively high standards.
We found a parking place and walked to the far end of Duval Street. We bought a rum and coke from a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. He tells us they are building 18 units up on Sugarloaf Key. I’m tempted to volunteer, but it doesn’t fit our commitments for the next two months.
A few people in the crowd carry “repent” type signs or portable loudspeakers with religious messages. It can be very hard to distinguish the serious messages from the mockers.
We wander though the throng of nude freaks with painted breasts and genitals and hear a discussion between a spectator and a police sergeant about what constitutes lascivious indecency in Key West. The sergeant says if the parts are painted, it’s OK. The spectator points out some unpainted body parts and the sergeant shrugs.
We have some coconut shrimp and stone crab down at Red Fish/ Blue Fish and watch the chickens scavenge the scraps from the floor.
A tourist with a University of Kansas t-shirt passes us. We giggle and remind each other that we’re not in Kansas anymore.
We find a seat on a front porch of a house being renovated next to a Duval street brothel. The girls from the house sit on the front parch and negotiate with the revelers.
On the way out we run into Miss Joyce on a shadowy street, walking her dog. She’s a sweet thing, about 75. She’s lived in Key West since 1932. She’s seen a lot of changes. We talk awhile about the things she’s seen.
Most of the Fantasy Fest pictures would not be approved for our viewing by young children.