Coronation of the King & Queen of Fantasy Fest

When: October 20, 2023 6:00 PM

Where: Coffee Butler Amphitheater, 21 Quay Road, Key West, FL 33040

                                         Fantasy Fest 2023: A Royal Celebration in Key West

Nestled amidst the azure waters of the Florida Keys, Key West is a vibrant island paradise known for its colorful culture, stunning sunsets, and a penchant for throwing unforgettable parties. But there's one event that stands head and shoulders above the rest, where revelry meets philanthropy, and fantasy becomes reality – Fantasy Fest. This year, Fantasy Fest takes a regal turn as it crowns the King and Queen of Fantasy Fest, and it's all for a noble cause. Join us as we unveil the grandeur and glamour of Fantasy Fest 2023 and delve into the lives of the candidates vying for the coveted crowns.

Fantasy Fest, an annual extravaganza, is a beloved tradition in Key West. But this year's festivities are extra special as they mark the inaugural Royal Campaign for the Florida Keys SPCA, the largest animal welfare organization in the Florida Keys. This nonprofit, founded in 1999, has been tirelessly protecting the furry residents of paradise from Key West to Marathon. Their mission encompasses everything from compassionate animal care and adoptions to education and humane law enforcement. They are, in essence, the Center for Animal Welfare & Education, providing a safe haven for homeless and community-owned animals.

The Fantasy Fest Royal Campaign of 2023 officially kicks off on Friday, September 8th, 2023, at the Key West Theater. This event, hosted by the Florida Keys SPCA, sets the stage for a whirlwind of fundraising activities that will span six weeks. Notably, it's a torch passed down from AH Monroe, another venerable nonprofit that had successfully organized this event for the past 34 years.

Meet the Candidates: Advocates with a Heart for Animals The heart of Fantasy Fest lies in the candidates who passionately raise funds for the Florida Keys SPCA. Let's meet the remarkable individuals vying for the titles of King and Queen of Fantasy Fest 2023:

  1. Ben Hennington: Ben, a Key West transplant originally from New Orleans, is no stranger to community involvement. As the founder of the Sunset Social Drinking Club (SSDC) and co-founder of POSH (Paws Often Steal Hearts), he champions the welfare of shelter animals and finding forever homes for them. Over the years, Ben and SSDC have raised over $150K for the FKSPCA and over $300K in total for local charities.

  2. Shawn Montgomery: Shawn, a resident of Key West since 1996, is deeply involved in the community. His philanthropic work spans organizations like MARC House, FKSPCA, Red Barn Theatre, Waterfront Playhouse, The Studios, Sister Season Fund, and many others. Shawn and his husband, Michael Stella, run TLC the Lighting-Landscape Company, continuing his lighting work from home.

  3. Vicky Rowden: Vicky, a Key West resident for 13 years, is a passionate advocate for her community. She's participated in numerous campaigns benefiting AH Monroe County and won Aqua Idol, which supported the Waterfront Playhouse. Vicky is also a proud pet parent to two cats, Luna and Gizmo, adopted from the FKSPCA.

  4. Tangela Torres: Tangela, a Registered Nurse with 20 years' Operating Room experience, is on the board of directors of Womankind and a past board member of Zonta Club International. She's a proud member of the Mystick Krewe Key West and firmly believes that our furry friends deserve the same love and care as their human counterparts. Her campaign aims to support the FKSPCA in providing the best care for animals in need.

  5. Donald Wells: Donald's journey is a testament to his love for animals, entertainment, and supporting the military. He's been involved in choreography and entertainment for NBA and NFL teams, bringing joy to US Armed Forces personnel on multiple tours. Donald's dedication extends to animal refuges, where he volunteered while working in Djibouti, Africa, and Bahrain. His transition to Key West in 2021 was a perfect fit for Fantasy Fest's "Unicorn & Uniforms" theme, and he readily signed up to contribute to a cause close to his heart – the FKSPCA.

The Royal Coronation Ball: After six weeks of passionate fundraising, the Royal Coronation Ball takes center stage on Friday, October 20th, 2023. This dazzling event unfolds at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater at Truman Waterfront, where the candidates who've raised the most funds for the Florida Keys SPCA will be crowned the King and Queen of Fantasy Fest 2023. The evening promises reserved seating, a delectable 3-course plated dinner, and the chance to cast your votes for the candidates of your choice. A cash bar ensures the libations keep flowing as you bask in the grandeur of this royal celebration.

Fantasy Fest 2023 is more than just a party; it's a heartwarming showcase of the Key West community's dedication to philanthropy and the welfare of its four-legged residents. As the candidates vie for the titles of King and Queen, they bring with them a legacy of community involvement, boundless compassion, and a commitment to making a difference. So, mark your calendars, secure your tickets, and prepare to be dazzled as Key West's Royal Family takes center stage, all for the love of animals and a celebration like no other. In Key West, fantasy becomes reality, and the royal celebration is one you won't want to miss.