Coronavirus: Fantasy Fest that draws about 60,000 to Key West canceled

Festival generates around $30 million for island

KEY WEST, Fla. – Although Key West’s biggest parade and party festival isn’t scheduled until the middle of October, organizers of the annual Fantasy Fest announced Thursday that they are canceling the large-scale public event out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19.

The Fantasy Fest, which was created in 1979 to bring crowds and tourism to Key West during its off season, attracts around 60,000 people to Key West’s Duval Street. Organizers say it is a $30 million contributor to the its annual revenues.

Grossman Orr cited changing COVID-19 regulations, increasing cases and current CDC guidelines as factors in the decision not to hold the 10-day festival this year.

About half of the local workforce is employed in tourism-related jobs, officials said. The Keys reopened to visitors June 1 after being closed to nonresidents for 10 weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Grossman Orr said festival officials will work with community-based organizations to raise donations and disperse them to those most in need in in Key West.

They’ve already announced dates for next year’s Fantasy Fest 2021; that’s set for Oct. 22-31.

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