The Florida Keys & Key West

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Fantasy Fest Pet Masquerade to Star ‘Party Animals’ Oct. 25

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Dozens of masquerade contests, parties and other spectacles are to challenge the creativity of mask and costume designers during Key West’s Oct. 20-29 Fantasy Fest — but none more than the Pet Masquerade.

Scheduled Wednesday, Oct. 25, the family-friendly costume competition is designed for barking, meowing and squawking participants and their human companions. The offbeat event typically draws entries ranging from costumed pet-and-person duos to animal-and-human ensembles staging choreographed performances.

Many entries are likely to reflect the 2017 Fantasy Fest theme of “Time Travel Unravels,” with furred and feathered contestants starring as “hep cats,” sly dogs and strange birds from any past era or imagined future world.

Open to all domestic animals, the quirky competition is 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 circus troupe with a performing pooch painted as a white tiger, a young pirate “wench” whose tail-wagging pal carried her treasure chest, and a teacup Yorkie “bandita” whose costume included tiny toy pistols, a serape and a sombrero.

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

Event information: facebook.com/keywestpetmasquerade, fantasyfest.com

Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY

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