The grounds of the iconic Custom House Museum at 218 Front Street will be transformed into the official “Gateway to the Fantasy Zone” for this year’s “Time Travel Unravels” Fantasy Fest during six days of celebration starting Monday, October 23 through Saturday, October 28 with a special Fantasy Fest Royal Retrospective exhibit opening October 16, in advance of the Gateway events.
“The museum’s location, its connection to the Keys arts community, and the historic significance of the landmark building makes the Custom House a perfect Gateway for folks to gather as they enter this year’s ‘Fantasy Zone,’” said Fantasy Fest Producer Nadene Grossman Orr. “And the enthusiasm and willingness of the Key West Art & Historical Society team to join the fun and be such a big part of our new direction for this year’s festival— there couldn’t be a better event partner!”
Gateway revelers can avail themselves of a special information tent with a festival concierge featuring info on all things Fantasy Fest. The hub will feature alternating DJ’s, streamed and live music, vendors offering souvenir and artisan goodies, a giant 12’ x 16’ 3-D Fantasy Fest logo sculpture for epic selfie-shots, and libations from the event’s many sponsors including Tito’s, Fireball, Margaritaville Tequila, 99 Brands, Caribe SUP.
Custom House Gateway highlights include a free Brick House Funk Party benefit on Thursday, October 26th, with all proceeds supporting the SOS Foundation with their ongoing hurricane Irma recovery efforts and a Saturday night post-parade Fantasy Fest closing party with DJ Buggy, that will include a dramatic midnight reveal of the Fantasy Fest theme for 2018.
“Having the Custom House as a Fantasy Fest hub blends the festival’s party vibe with the island’s amazing cultural heritage, especially considering the festival’s fresh and creative direction,” says Society Executive Director Michael Gieda, who- rumor has it- might be breaking out some 45s to spin during Thursday night’s Brick House Funk Party.
Opening in advance of the Gateway events and running October 16-29 during regular museum hours, the Custom House Museum presents their 2nd annual “Royal Retrospective” exhibit in the first floor lobby – a look back at decades of Key West Fantasy Fest royalty via memorabilia, keepsakes, photographs, and posters, curated and produced by Dennis Beaver and Society Curator Cori Convertitio, Ph.D. On October 19 from 6:00-8:00pm, the exhibit becomes the site for “A Royal Retrospective: a Look Back at the Kings & Queens of Fantasy Fest, an all-candidate party open to the public, with a cash bar and light appetizer fare, with 100% of the $10 admission benefiting Aids Help.
Fantasy Fest events are sponsored in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council and the Florida Keys Council of the Arts. For more information, visit KWAHS.ORG or FANTASYFEST.COM. Your Museums. Your Community. It Takes an Island.