On the Paths of Duval St. – Fantasy Fest 2007

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Much fun! Fantasy Fest was a blast. The experience cannot be compared to carnival in Brazil. The approach is different. There are lots of crazy people here, many naked. In Brazil, carnival is more sensual and with more lively music playing, I’d say.

The float I was part of had the theme of Revolutionaries, Proletariat, Dictators in the Revolutionary Tea Party. It was the only one satirizing politics. Well, I figured out that every dictator had a latin lover, so I decided to dress up as a Latin Lover Queen. Fun to shop around for the accessories to embellish my character. The group was varied. There were all kinds of revolutionaries, warriors, dictators… Before, during and after the parade I had a great time. Never had it been so easy to take interesting photos from different angles. Amazing how creative, wild and crazy revelers in Key West can get this time of the year. There were thousands in the crowd dressed up, dressed down, or bare!

The funny part is that it’s all about the beads. Yes, those beaded necklaces! People go crazy about them. The ones who get the most are the most popular. In fact, I had to fake innocence, for the whole thing with the beads is that you need to show hidden, intimate parts of your body (guess what for women and for men?!) to exchange the beads. During the parade, every single float member threw tons of colorful beads to the crowd. In our case, they begged and screamed “Castro, Castro, Castro”. Castro in the car, and Castro with his nurse waving to the audience caused a sensation on Duval Street.
Fantasy Fest is a must-go celebration in Key West! I just loved the whole adventure of parading, throwing beads, meeting friends watching us, and walking home with friends at 2:00 in the morning.
Life can be really fun 90 miles from Cuba!


Filed under Carla Arena, Celebrations, Culture, KeyWest

7 responses to “On the Paths of Duval St. – Fantasy Fest 2007

  1. Dear Carla,
    what a great set of photos.
    I love such parades. We do something similar in Portugal for Carnaval!

    and thanks for sharing.

  2. carlaarena

    Dear Cris,

    In Brazil we have the parades, too, for Carnaval! Now, my next stop must be Rio Parade! I just loved to parade on a float!


  3. leebaber

    Hi Carla,
    Thanks for sharing the parade with us. I love it. It would be great to come to the next one!
    Thank you,

  4. Nahir

    Hi Carla,

    A wonderful experience, nice photos, and lots of colors! You are documenting your cultural experience and sharing it with us. Thanks.

    In Venezuela people celebrate carnival at the same time as you do in Brazil, we have parades, but nowadays they are not the way they used to be. Lots of beautiful floats with different themes. Of course, we lack that sensuality you mention in Brazilian Carnival.

    Keep sharing,


  5. carlaarena

    Hi, Lee and Nahir,


    Nahir, I’ll surely keep sharing and documenting my time here. There are so many things I’d like to blog about, cultural aspects, differences, my impressions, but life has been hectic in Key West. I’m trying, at least, to write leave here my notes once in a while. I hope one day my kids can get back here to read and see the photos as memories of a great time in Key West.

    What has changed in the Venezuelan carnival? I was curious to know…


  6. Hi Carla!

    It looks like you guys had a great time at the parade! I absolutely loved Castro and Evita!!! Back in 1991, during the Gulf War, my brother and his friends had a carnival group called “Os Canhões de Saddam” (Saddam’s Cannons), a group of guys dressed as women… At that time, the word “canhão” (cannon) was also used here to refer to a very ugly woman… Needless to say, it was the most popular group at the parade that year! :-)

    Loved the pictures!

  7. Carla,

    Quite amazing! What can an Englishman do but shake his head and mutter, my, my, my.
    Oh, and by the way – are the photos of all those naked people in a separate album? I couldn’t find them. :-)))))))))) LOL LOL LOL LOL

    Chaste English hugs from:

    Dennis of Osnabrueck

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