KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Over 40 masquerade contests, parties and other spectacles are to challenge the creativity of mask and costume designers during Key West's Oct. 17-26 Fantasy Fest — but none more than the Pet Masquerade and Parade for furred and feathered revelers.

Scheduled Wednesday, Oct. 22, the family-friendly costume competition is designed for domestic "party animals" and their human companions. The offbeat event typically draws several dozen entries ranging from costumed pet-and-person duos to animal-and-human ensembles staging choreographed performances.

Many entries are likely to reflect the 2014 Fantasy Fest theme of "Animeted Dreams & Adventures," inspired by traditional Japanese anime and other creative animation from blockbuster films to comic-book classics. Animal entrants might be costumed as Kung Fu Pandas, black-masked Batmen or big-eyed heroes from stylized anime.

Open to all domestic animals, the "animeted" antics are set to begin at 5:30 p.m. on an oceanfront stage at the Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, at 1500 Reynolds St.

Judges traditionally award prizes for the top junior contestants, most exotic attire, best theme adaptation, best pet-owner look-alikes and overall winner.

Recent years' standouts have included a "vampire cat" with a replica coffin, a Great Dane costumed as a Florida lobster, a Chihuahua "burro" with tiny tequila-filled saddlebags and an eerie ensemble that crept through the crowd and danced onstage to Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

General admission for spectators is free, and VIP seating and cocktail packages can be purchased at Proceeds from the Pet Masquerade benefit the Lower Keys Friends of Animals.

Event information:,
Key West visitor information:
or 1-800-LAST-KEY

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Posted On: September 24, 2014

Read full article at Monroe County Tourist Development Council Website