Apr 082016


Mr. Robbins, Mayor and Commissioners,

My name is Brian Kelly. I have lived in Key West full-time since late 2003. I would like to throw my two cents in on this subject. Every few years, I attend the Fantasy Fest parade, culminating the end of the largest invasion of my town. I am not offended by the raucous parties nor the varying degrees of dress, or more appropriately, undress. I am grossed out, however, by the grandmas and grandpas that manage to lose their inhibitions, as well as their clothes, when they come to Key West.

What I am offended by is what has come to my attention the last couple years, and that is how much the City of Key West subsidizes this event. These are tax dollars being used to throw this huge party which only benefits the hotels, bars and restaurants. This event does NOT benefit me, it just costs me more if I want to go out to dinner or to have a cocktail.

I find it very disingenuous that the TDA says they cannot afford to pay for the expense of throwing this party. If the owners/organizers of ANY event, particularly Fantasy Fest, can’t or don’t turn a big enough profit, perhaps this should be turned over to another organization that is capable of covering the expenses AND making a profit. This is assuming the City would want to keep this event. As I to understand, Fantasy Fest was created to help businesses in what was the slowest part of the year. The fact of the matter now is there is rarely a slow week in Key West anymore. From my perspective Key West doesn’t need FantasyFest.

Since this event does not benefit me in any way, I have a problem with my tax dollars subsidizing a for-profit event. Perhaps the hotels, bars and restaurants, that increase their already high prices during this time, should pay for the expenses. One thing I would agree with Mr. Robbins on, the city should not charge the organizers any bogus expenses that are not directly related to the event.

I have a budget I have to live within. If I can’t afford to attend an event or throw a party, I don’t. That’s just good, prudent business sense. The City has shown on way too many occasions, it has no idea what that means. Maybe it’s time for both the TDA and the City to learn. Thank you.

Brian Kelly
Key West

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 April 8, 2016  Posted by at 8:12 am Island Voices, Issue #161, Letter to the Editor  Add comments

  4 Responses to “An Important Note Re: Fantasy Fest 2016”

  1. Are you discriminating against seniors?

  2. Not sure what his problem is. Seems he likes seeing the young good looking ones. He seems to think it is his town and his tax dollars. Truth is the tourist do pay by bed tax and on every meal and drink. Try just 1 year of no FF and you will be crying. At stake are thousands of hours of jobs created by FF.

  3. I suspect that the TDA , or certainly Market Share Company is making TONS of money while crying poor mouth. Disingenuous is the word that describes it best.

  4. OK , here is what I don’t understand. There is some event happening in KW every week. They all take city resources to some degree and the tax money pays the bill. Now comes a major event of perhaps 5 or 10 times as large. So yes takes 5 or 10 times the cost to handle it. In return the city does 5 to 10 times more business. So this is like saying we don’t want more customers. We were in KW for NYE and yes crowded but likely no group picking up any of that cost. Why is the bed tax not being used for the purpose of off setting the cost of events ? If KW was not a party town then you would have no need for the amount of city workers and the KWPD could likely do with less than half of the officers it has. You also would find unemployment forcing 50% or more workers to leave KW. Tourism is all KW has for serious income and jobs. What I see is mismanagement of money. Could the city run this event better ? If yes then do it but as with any city ran programs it likely would fail. Some do not see the total picture. Many tourist go to KW for first visit to see FF and that is what gets them to return other times. You do not always make money on every event. How are you measuring the income from FF ? Most of the real money from motels, hotels and bed and breakfast are paid months in advanced and many are paid in full 30 days before FF, So you can’t judge the money based on Oct.

    If you want to go back to seeing a slow Oct. then close FF. And then watch how many places close down and fire employees. You need some smarter people to run this town.

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