Monday, October 28, 2013


Here in Key West, Halloween is celebrated a little differently than other parts of the country...we have Fantasy Fest. I am, however, thankful I no longer work on Duval Street, the party street. I was wondering how awkward it was going to be with practically naked people in our store. Let me explain: Fantasy Fest gives people the liberty to paint their body, wear skimpy costumes, and parade drunkenly down Duval Street.

photo by Rob O'Neal
This is my first time to experience Key West's Fantasy Fest. It is a 10 day event, with many different events everyday. A co-worker asked me if I would take off my shirt and paint my body. That got me to thinking about all the people here that do exactly that. Many come from the mainland thinking that they can go wild here and nobody from home will ever know. Haha, before camera phones and YouTube, that may have been true. With advanced photography technology at our fingertips, anything can end up online. If you don't believe me, go to YouTube and search "Fantasy Fest, Key West". Dare you.
          This is the Zombie Bike Ride.                                 photo by Rob O'Neal

I stayed away from most of the craziness, but felt the need to experience Fantasy Fest, so Chuck and I made our way down for the parade on the final evening. Since my blog is G-rated, I will not publish photos of the many bare-breasted females that roamed Duval Street, along with the reported 60,000+ spectators for the parade. This is our biggest event of the year.

photo by Andy Newman
Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, who recently swam from Cuba to Key West, rides atop the grand marshal float.

photo by Andy Newman

Every Fantasy Fest has a theme, and this year was SUPER HEROES, VILLAINS & BEYOND.
On Sunday, there was a carnival for the kids.

There were many booths of food and fun games for the children. The stage featured many group performances from the dance schools and musical talents.

Amy brought all three kids out for the festivities, and Aiden enjoyed a couple of the rides.

Child ID Program was available for anyone at no charge. This is a great program and Aiden took his turn. We hope it is never needed, but a great tool if it is.

Another Fantasy Fest is in the books, and next year's theme was announced: Animeted Dreams & Adventures. Chuck and I believe it is more fun to be a part of the parade, rather than a spectator. Next year, we will watch the spectators from a float.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Like most eatables from the sea, stone crab has a season, and it began Oct. 15th. Stone crabs are popular in the Keys, but I had never heard of them until I moved here. Only the claw is eaten, and only the larger one is harvested and then the stone crab is thrown back in the water… they will grow another claw.

Crab traps.

Chuck loves stone crab, and he has six traps that will be set soon. Yummmm, another fresh dinner straight from the sea. Around here, we celebrate everything, including the opening of a season. Saturday, there was a stone crab eating contest, and we (Chuck, Stan, Gail and I) were in attendance. I was not a contestant, but Chuck and Gail were. This was the 3rd annual competition at Key's Fisheries in Marathon, fifty miles up the road from Key West. Veronica, the winner of the first two years, was a young woman that works at Key's Fisheries. Unfortunately, this year she was disqualified when she couldn't keep her last claw down, but her record still stands. 

Chuck talked Gail into competing in both the singles and the team competition. It was a lot of fun to watch, and all the contestants walked away with a full tummy. Needless to say, Chuck was not hungry come dinner time. 


If your boat has more horsepower than your car,
You're in Conch Country.