Friday, October 24, 2014

Fantasy Fest 2014 live

5.06pm latest on Fleming:

3.56pm: Attacked by birds, I retreat to the bar. That's all the live blogging for now. I need to go socialise at the party and then go on the March at 5pm. There will be loads and loads of pictures from the Masquerade March here as soon as I get back this evening, sober up, and post them. Most likely, see you tomorrow.

2.15pm Our outfit is based on Tippi Hedren from The Birds

1.13pm: Even though it's quarter past one, it's 5 o'clock somewhere. Cheers. Happy Fantasy Fest.

1pm. Before the public March at 5pm, our guesthouse - Alexanders - is having 2 pre-event parties. So it's 1 hour to go before the first one and time to pop the booze in our room (which is our pre-pre-pre event party). Please leave comment below if you are attending Fantasy Fest - would be great to hear from you.

12.08pm. It's Masquerade March day today in Key West's 2014 Fantasy Fest. Followed by Pirates. And then fetish. Normal day at the office here in Key West. Here's from the official brochure.

Today's agenda at Fantasy Fest 2014

11.28am  Costume preparations continue. Deadline 2pm. Here is a teaser.

Blonde wig and a blackbird - costume teaser
10:39 Returned from Fairvilla. Blood for the costumer today successfully purchased. Fairvilla is going to be very busy today. Then to Walgreens and first nakedness of the day (in the cold drinks aisle too!) at 10am! I'm going to start topless count. Topless men so far: 0 (disappointing). Topless* ladies so far: 3.     * topless = with or without body paint.

Now it's time to start on the costume. Music we go...

Bucket O'Blood - this is what we're after for Fantasy Fest costume
Fairvilla Key West - will be a busy shop today and tomorrow
Fairvilla Key West entrance
Rest of the store at Fairvilla Key West
09:06.  Blue skies - the sun comes out for the first time today and no rain yet. Here's some pictures from around the Bight take an hour ago. Generally pretty coudy today with medium winds.
Masquerade March morning down at the Bight. This is the most optimistic picture weather wise....
...this is more representative. Heavy cloud. But will it rain?
It hasn't rained yet today but the latest weather forecast is for increasing cloud and increasing chance of rain peaking between noon and 4pm  - during that time it's a 50-50 chance of rain. Which is ok odds. But if we get any rain, it'll probably be heavy. Then the rain chance decreasing for the actual Masquerade March from 5pm so maybe that will stay dry.

And tomorrow for the main parade looking better.

Right, enough looking at the weather forecast. It's Key West, so anything could transpire, perspire or precipitate. We're off to Old Town get the final elements to the costume plus some other essential supplies (i.e. wine).

Fleming Street 8.15am today. Quiet. It'll be a LOT busier at 5pm when the Masquerade March hits.

Friday 24 October 2014: The big day has arrived. There will be lots of blogging and regular updates for the next few days so check back regularly.

First a recap on yesterday. We arrived successfully into Key West at a few minutes after 9pm. The drive from Miami was great: quiet traffic and no issues. We marvelled appropriately at the Roosevelt Boulevard new work/road! Might have taken forever, but it's worth it. The straight into Old Town to get some food before hitting the sack. No martini or partying for us tonight - just too tired and jet lagged.

Thursday was toga party night sat Sloppy Joe's so there were lots of excellent costumes in that theme. Also, already, lots and lots of bare and naked flesh on display. The "naked breast with body paint" count is high already.

The big issue for this week has been the inclement weather - the rain.  The big question of course for today and tomorrow for those going in body paint only is: how will the body pain survive in the heavy rains we are expecting. Naked washout indeed.

As I write this, 8.30am - no rain but very heavy skies.

Fantasy Fest weather 2014 - from the Citizen. Sun returns - but not until tomorrow,

Thursday 23 October: Just like thousands of others we are making our way to Fantasy Fest 2014. Yippee! We - finally - are on our way! Currently at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and it's five o'clock somewhere so we are having a drink to celebrate. 1 hour to boarding our British Airways flight to Miami. See you Key West in about 16 hours.
On our way to Fantasy Fest 2014
Fantasy Fest costume packed in this bag!

Zombie Bike Ride in Key West
18 October: With Goombay over, thoughts turn to the Zombie Bike Ride on Sunday afternoon. Get ready for lots of blood! Actually, I need some blood for my costume for the Masquerade March next week so I hope after the zombies shuffle off there will be some left on the island for me!

I got to say the Zombie Bike Ride looks absolutely brilliant and all the locals I speak to say it's their favorite event of Fantasy Fest. So if, unlike me, you are lucky enough to already be in Key West, enjoy the zombies, and watch your backs!

Goombay looked good, great pictures from Conchscooter (as usual) on his excellent blog - and also, from him, the line of Fantasy Fest so far: "Duval Street...gets more crowded and less clothed as the week progresses. Oh dear."

Not long to go to Fantasy Fest 2014
16 October: Here we go, folks. 2 hours to go to the official start of Fantasy Fest 2014. The first few days are a little quiet but Friday features the Bahama Village Goombay Festival which sounds great fun. I will miss it, but it's exactly 1 week to my arrival in Key West. If you're visiting the Goombay Festival, or any other event this weekend, drop me a comment in the comment box at the end of the post to tell me how it went. See you in a week!

Fantasy Fest Key West

I am visiting Key West for Fantasy Fest 2014 in October - this is the live blog of the parties, surprises, stories and debauchery. Regularly updated. See below for previous updates.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fantasy Fest 2014 Key West

Fantasy Fest 2014 in Key West is a 10-day series of events and crazy parties running from 17 to 26 October 2014. The Fantasy Fest theme for 2014 is Anim├ęted Dreams and Adventures.

Fantasy Fest 2014 Key West
Fantasy Fest 2014 Key West
This will be the 36th annual Fantasy Fest in Key West and the very best events (in my view) come at the end: the Masquerade march on Friday 24 October and the big showpiece event, the Parade on Saturday 25 October 2014.

TODAY: I am currently live blogging Fantasy Fest 2014 on another post on my blog - click here.

This is my guide to Fantasy Fest 2014 if you're new to it and are Fantasy Fest curious.

CLICK BELOW TO READ my guide to Fantasy Fest for newbies...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Flying from the UK to Key West

London to Key West is a 13 hour journey 
London to Key West is 4,554 miles and the flying time is 13 hours, via Miami airport. I fly out of Heathrow at 11am and walk through the door of my Key West guesthouse at 8pm the same evening. Once in my Key West room, I down a glass of complimentary wine, catch a quick shower, and am out by 8.45pm and by 9pm sitting in Virgillio's, potent martini in hand, looking out at the crazyness of Duval Street and preparing to eat at the bar from their wonderful Italian menu. And relax.

Then because of the martini(s) consumed, the jet lag is hours from kicking in, so a detour via Bourbon Street pub is inevitable. Hit the pillow after midnight. All in one day.

As I write (August 2014), I've done the London to Key West trip 18 times - 18 flights out, and 18 flights back. Yes it's a long way but it's worth it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Best hotel in Key West

Best hotel in Key West is the Pier House resort
The best hotel in Key West 2014 is the Pier House Resort with an ideal Old Town Key West location, perfect ocean views, a private beach, relative seclusion and it has the best bars. It's a luxury, expensive, four star hotel (there are no 5 star hotels in Key West)  located just off Duval Street. If you can afford their magnificent ocean view rooms I highly recommend the Pier House.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What to do in Key West when it rains

If you're reading this then it's probably raining in Key West and you're looking for ideas about what to do. First, I'm sorry it's raining and I hope it passes soon. Anyway, what to do? The traditional answer in Key West when it rains is:  DRINK! You have a multitude of choices and you'll find the bars packed today if it's raining. But there are alternatives, of on...
What to do in Key West when it rains.   Here on Duval Street someone has a different option than a rain poncho.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

When is the best time of year to visit Key West?

Best time to visit Key West is January to May
Most visitors say the best time to visit Key West is January to May because the weather is perfect: it's not unbearably humid yet, and it's so cold at home. In fact, from November to March Key West is the hottest place in the entire contiguous USA. As a result, it's peak season, very busy and super expensive in Key West in these months. The off season (June to December) has its charms, but big downsides too, as I explain below, including a month by month guide.

Let's start with some Key West best time of year Frequently Asked Questions….

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Top 10 posts on Key West Lookout

Here are the top 10 most read articles on this blog since I started Key West Lookout in 2009. Key West Lookout is written by me and only me. I am a regular Key West visitor, and have been taking vacations in Key West since 1998. My aim is to provide the best, most comprehensive and most up-to-date Key West vacation guide on the planet. See you in Key West!

#1: Best time of year to visit Key West

#2: Key West hotels

#3: Top things to do in Key West

#4: What to do in Key West when it rains

#5: Key West restaurants

#6: Gay Key West

#7: Best cocktails and martinis in Key West

#8: Key West guesthouses

#9: Planing a Key West vacation

#10: Key West pictures




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Planning a Key West visit

You're planning a Key West vacation, maybe you've never been to Key West before. It's a fantastic place for a vacation with many things to do, lively, beautiful and friendly. And, of course, the weather is fantastic for most of the year.
Planning a Key West visit. Key West is a small island, 126 miles down a dead end highway, and can be a busy place. So make sure you've done your planning. Shown here is Duval Street by the setting sun. It's not normally this quiet, this is taken during the summer when crowds are fewer.
This post will answer these questions:
  • How to get to Key West?
  • How bad is the traffic?
  • Where to stop off on the way down the Keys?
  • When to visit?
  • How long to stay in Key West?
  • Do you need a car / what to so with the car while in Key West?
  • What to wear in Key West?  How formal is Key West?
  • Where to stay and what to do?
  • How good is Key West for children?
So click on the link below and let's get going....

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Shopping in Key West

Fun shopping in Key West
Here's the best shops and stores in Key West. I've chosen these shops because, like the best of Key West, they are unique, off beat, a little bit strange. So if you're after towels, rum, salt, hot sauce, hammocks, and kitsch tropical ware - Key West is the place for you. Pack a spare suitcase.

The best 9 stores in Key West are:
  • Salt, a small boutique store for interesting items made in, or near, Key West - including honey, art, jewelry and salt. A really beautiful shop.
  • Key West's first legal rum distillery. As well as the shop, this is where they actually make the rum. See the making in action and then buy the result.
  • Peppers of Key West. Hundreds of chilli pepper sauces from around the world. Sweet to mega hot. Tasting bar is free.
  • Leather Master. Fun toys and clothes for naughty boys. Recently has added a new section for ladies so I hear.
  • Assortment Inc. With Fast Buck Freddy's now closed, where do we get our outrageous tropical themed gear? At Assortment Inc of course.
  • Towels of Key West. Cheeky, camp and fun towels and t-shirts.
  • Cocktails of Key West. As above. Could they possibly be targetting gay men?!
  • Key West Hammock Company. Fantastic selection of hammocks but also fantastic metal murals of fish shoals and turtles for your garden wall.
  • Timmy Tuxedo's - 50 years and counting. Maybe the apostrophe is in the wrong place, but who am I to argue? They even have a website - Google it.
Here are some pictures and more details if you can't visit in person any time soon.....

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sloppy Joe's Bar Key West

Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval Street Key West
Sloppy Joe's Bar is Key West's most famous bar and its most iconic facade. Sloppy Joe's history is as famous as its exterior. Show me a visitor who's visited Key West and NOT taken a picture of Sloppy Joe's! The bar has live music every day and Key West's best live webcam is right outside the bar so you can wave to your friends in real time. From the building's construction in 1937 through its Hemingway connection, this bar is beautiful, and different, by day and by night. You'll find below more pictures that you'll ever need or want to see of Sloppy Joe's - all taken by me over the last few years.
The main bar inside Sloppy Joe's Key West
Sloppy Joe's January 2014 facade
Red neon of Sloppy Joe's signage

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Beautiful Key West

Beautiful Key West
Key West is a beautiful collision of nature, the ocean and the sun at full power. Get off Duval Street and take the time to get into the relaxed and tropical vibe. Beauty in plants, flowers, trees and animals combine with the ocean and spectacular, varied, historic architecture. Add the backdrop of weather (often blue skies) then Key West's getting pretty high on the beauty scale.

You have to come here in person and walk around the place. So all I can give you is an impression. Everything you see below is available in a few square miles in Key West Old Town. All these pictures are all mine and unadulterated by Photoshop or the like.

If you're visiting Key West, take some time to get off Duval Street and explore. If you're not, then sit back, look at the following pictures, and dream tropical!

The ocean
Dolphin in Key West - this taken in the Outer Mole (very near where the cruise ships dock)
>>> MORE below for Beautiful Key West Trees and Flowers; Animals; Sunset….

Friday, February 14, 2014

Key West signs

Key West sign. This is a good sign (Schooner Wharf)
There are some fantastic signs in Key West. Visually striking signs, funny signs, historic signs, homemade signs, famous signs...I take hundreds of pictures of signs, logos and signage. Here is my selection of my favorite Key West signs.

One Human Family in the Conch Republic
Birthplace of Pan American World Airways Key West - Caroline Street and Whitehead St
Half Shell Raw Bar - Eat it raw
To see dozens more Key West signs click below....

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Most beautiful Key West houses and homes

There are some deeply beautiful homes on Key West.  They are all in Old Town Key West and so very walkable in an hour if you are in a rush or a few hours if you just randomly wander down a few streets in Key West.

Here are a just a few highlights to make you want to come to Key West and also to make you jealous of these beautiful and historic homes.