Key West’s 40th annual Fantasy Fest is going to the dogs — and cats — with a wacky Pet Masquerade contest on October 23.
The animal antics will once again be part of this year’s annual masking and costuming extravaganza on Florida’s famous southernmost island. Scheduled for Friday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct. 27, the 2019 Fantasy Fest is themed “In Tune But … Off Key” to celebrate musical merriment of all kinds.
The critter contest typically features several dozen entries ranging from costumed pet-and-person duos to animal-and-human ensembles staging choreographed performances.
Many entries are likely to draw inspiration from Fantasy Fest’s musical theme, perhaps promenading as Elvis Presley and his “Hound Dog,” the characters from the beloved Broadway musical “Cats” or even Warren Zevon’s offbeat “Werewolves of London.”
Judges traditionally award prizes for the top junior contestants, most exotic attire, best theme adaptation, best pet-owner look-alikes and overall grand prize winner.
Open to all domestic animals, the furry festivities are set to begin at 6:30 p.m. — a new time for the event — at the Key West Amphitheater at Truman Waterfront Park, 21 E. Quay Road. Registration for competitors begins at 5 p.m. and the fee is $25 per category.
General admission for spectators is free, with ample seating as well as space for attendees’ blankets or lawn chairs. Plans call for food and beverages to be available for purchase on-site, so coolers are not allowed. Proceeds from the Pet Masquerade benefit the Lower Keys Friends of Animals.