KEY WEST — Ten days of costumed frivolity — with many revelers impersonating presidents, as well as presidential and vice presidential wanna-bes — ended Sunday on this subtropical island.
Fantasy Fest was highlighted by a decadent Saturday night parade through Key West's historic downtown. Floats and costumes mocking presidential candidates and Wall Street excesses elicited rowdy reaction from more than 50,000 spectators during the procession which featured 61 motorized floats, Caribbean bands and colorful marching groups.
Many entries drew design inspiration from the Fantasy Fest theme of "Pirates, Pundits and Political Party Animals."
Standout parade entries included a float featuring life-sized marionettes depicting Barack Obama, John McCain, Bill and Hillary Clinton and other politicians. An 87-foot-long smoke-breathing "dragon of Wall Street," preceded a marching group costumed as gas pumps with sky-high prices.
"Wall Street Pirates" tossed fake million-dollar bills to the crowd and Monica Lewinsky pretenders pursued hapless men in Bill Clinton masks.
One float, titled "Obama Mia," a play on the popular musical Mamma Mia, featured 6-foot-high facial likenesses of Obama and McCain accompanied by a waving reveler costumed as vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Impersonators of the Alaska governor appeared repeatedly in the parade.
"We know there's lots of Joe Six-Packs down here," said Lori Alexander of Key West, trying to do her best Palin vocal impression. "Yep, that's why we're here. Drinking right along with them."
Several "Palins" were adorned in business attire sporting a mock $150,000 price tag or wearing risque garb far briefer than the real Palin's typical attire.
"We love Sarah Palin and saw lots of Sarah Palins," said Roger Floerchinger, a Fairbanks, Alaska, title insurance company owner.
Sunday, festival organizers announced that next year's Fantasy Fest is scheduled Oct. 23 to Nov. 1 with a theme of "Villains, Vixens and Vampires."