Key West’s iconic Fantasy Fest parade and street fair on Duval Street will not take place this year, organizers of the 10-day masking and costuming festival announced Monday night, to protect against the potential spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

They stressed the overall Oct. 22-31 festival and many of its scheduled events will continue, while encouraging attendees to abide by COVID protection protocols.

“Fantasy Fest will look different this year, but it is not canceled,” said festival director Nadene Grossman Orr. “Signature events like the Headdress Ball and Pet Masquerade are still planned, and there will be plenty of individual masquerade parties and other festival favorites to enjoy.”

Grossman Orr said the popular Masquerade March, scheduled Oct. 29, is currently on hold.

Both the highlight parade and street fair typically draw tens of thousands of people to Key West’s historic downtown.

Organizers of the Zombie Bike Ride and the fundraising campaign to elect the festival king and queen canceled their events last weekend, citing COVID concerns.

Fantasy Fest was established in 1979 and has since earned international acclaim for its pageantry, lavish parade floats and themed costume parties.

Grossman Orr said the event schedule at fantasyfest.com is to be updated in coming days and urged people to check it regularly. The festival’s COVID-19 policy can be viewed at fantasyfest.com/covid-19-safety-protocols/.

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