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Fantasy Fest Kicks Off In Key West With Costumes, Zombies

Key West

10/22/12 10:16 AM ET EDT  AP

KEY WEST, Fla. -- The masked balls, parties and costume competitions of Fantasy Fest are underway in Key West.

The 10-day festival began Friday night at a coronation ball where locals Mark Patterson and Liz Ketcham were crowned king and queen. Aspiring royals campaigned by raising money for the Florida Keys' AIDS Help organization. They collected nearly $142,000.

Fantasy Fest culminates Oct. 27 with a nighttime parade featuring costumed marching groups, Caribbean bands and floats.

This year's theme, "A-Conch-Alypse," spoofs an ancient apocalypse prophecy. The Florida Keys island chain was nicknamed the "Conch Republic" after a tongue-in-cheek secession from the U.S. in 1982.

Officials say the colorful annual event has a $30 million impact in the Keys. The first Fantasy Fest was in 1979.

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  • Fantasy Fest

    A participant in the Zombie Bike Ride makes her way down a street in Key West, Florida. Event organizers say about 2,000 people participated in the event. Key West's annual Fantasy Fest costuming and masking festival began Oct. 19 and continues through Sunday, Oct. 28.

  • A zombie bike rider mocks the reality TV phenomenon Honey Boo Boo.

  • Jessica Marzulla adjusts the fit of a mask on Mark Marien in Key West, during the first day of Fantasy Fest.

  • John McBride, owner of the Maskerville mask store in Key West, fitting Marty Lambeth with one of his creations.

  • Zombie Bike Ride

    Participants in the Zombie Bike Ride make their way down a street in Key West.

  • A canine participant rides in the Zombie Bike Ride in Key West.

  • A rather patriotic looking zombie before the ride.

  • Zombies can be any age.

  • A zombie couple.

  • A sardonic zombie.

  • A marshall zombie in grey face.

  • No idea what this was supposed to be.

  • A bunch of cadavers go for a stroll.

  • A beautiful couple.

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Filed by Andrew Burmon  |