I was sorely disappointed last night. Toga Party. What Toga Party? Hard to find.

I have been a fan of Toga Party since the mid 1980’s. Merely as a voyeur. For me, fun. Last night, there was little to be voyeured. Very little.

The reasons why two-fold from my perspective.

Irma obviously a contributing factor. Who would want to pay $700-$1,000 a night for a hotel room if Key West was still recovering from Irma?

The other is the leadership of the event. New leadership this year. The former head ran the show for many years. Complaints grew in recent years by certain locals that there was too much nudity, perversion, etc.

The squeaky wheel was heard by the new leadership. Advertising for this year’s event was not to the usual sources. Sexually inclined persons and groups.

Fantasy Fest an adult party. Always has been. People want to show off their bodies, play, etc. Hurts no one. The new leadership better study closely the reasons why this year’s event failed. And not be reluctant to accept responsibility where warranted.

I walked Duval in the usual Toga Party area last night. Sloppy Joe’s, inside and out. I would estimate the crowd no more than one-third of its usual number. Sloppy’s not crowded. Could walk the streets without problem. Duval not closed off. Cars driving through.

I saw no more than 10 persons in toga attire.

The failure of Toga Party probably a combination of Irma and the new leadership looking in the wrong places for attendees.

The Parade is saturday night. Normally 60,000 to 80,000 spectators. Terrific! Not this year. It will be significantly less.

Several years ago, there was another Irma/storm. Fantasy Fest was delayed into early December so Key West would be ready. This year greed dictated otherwise. There was a rush to get ready and hold the event timely. Hotels, bars, merchants, etc. needed the business.

The goose that lays the golden egg seriously hurt this year.Let’s hope it does not die not next.

I saw three sets of bare breasts last night. One at the Chart Room. Bugs Bunny. She and her husband from Kentucky. Breasts spray painted.

The other two on the street in front of Sloppy’s. One young, the other middle aged. Both spray painted.

In previous years, there would be hundreds in various degrees of undress. All having a good time. Even voyeurs like me. I sincerely hope the tradition does not end.

Enjoyed stone crabs again last night at Pier One. I was the only customer. Hovi the bartender. From Romania. Has been in Key West 5 years.

The Chart Room had about 15 minutes of activity. Otherwise, few customers.

Met Larry and Cindy. We are neighbors! They live on the golf course, also.

We chatted quite a while. Canadians. Sarnie, Ontario. Sounded like they have a family business. Mechanical contracting. Cindy serves as bookkeeper for the business.

Proud parents of two children and two grandchildren.

Liked them both. Hope to develop a relationship with them.

Problems developing post Irma. To be expected. Not everything works perfectly following a disaster like Irma.

The Monroe County School System announced that 320 students are homeless as a result of Irma. Many would not be had the City fathers and FEMA decided that the Irma homeless could no longer stay in local hotels paid by FEMA following last sunday. It was Fantasy Fest time. Time to make real money! Which I suspect will not be the case when the numbers are released.

If the kids are homeless, the parents also. Where are they living? In cars, trucks, mangroves and under the bridges.

Shame on us all!

Monroe County has requested 9,200 trailers. FEMA provides them. As of yesterday, 10 had arrived.

FEMA advises it only has 1,000 trailers allocated for the entire State of Florida.

How will the problem be solved? Will it be solved?

Enjoy your day!

3 comments on “TOGA PARTY…..WHAT TOGA PARTY?

  1. I know this comment doesn’t agree with your sentiments, but even though KW depends on the thousands of tourist $$ brought in by Fantasy Fest each year during this low-season time of year, I, for one, am glad to hear the nudity and perverse displays of visiting adults has curtailed quite a bit during this year’s annual festivities. Sure, Irma and a change of promoters most likely affected the atendance of the week-long event this year, but for a lot of locals that make their living through nontourist related employment, the respite, however temporary, from the raucousness and ludeness of recent years is a welcome respite. Key West will survive and thrive long after the toning down of this year’s FF activities and my hope is that, in future years, this year’s lower-key (no pun intended) festivities will continue in the same manner.

  2. Wilma happened a week or two before FF. Major flood damage and beaches destroyed. No way to open to the public in time for goombay. No choice than to move it to December, which was not well attended. Lesson learned : It only works in October !
    The mass of unpainted naked people is a “new evolution of FF”. It began as an artist, creative, gay and hippy Halloween costume party. Costumes and body paint. & Fast Buck Floats were amazing! What it is now (last decade +) is nothing comparable.
    The shift to advertising to the s&n and swinger community was not a move for the better.

  3. I would agree with “Anomous”(sic), at least in part. Key West is no longer what it used to be. This new shift re: Fantasy Fest, is just another example of that. So is a Denny’s on Duval (although that’s been there a while now) and so is three large national drug store chains on Duval, and those are just a just a few of the gentrifications one can find nowadays in what was once a quirky, wacko and different city. Also goners are much of what else made KW so different and interesting to so many people, from anywhere else. The gay community isn’t what it once was, nor is the literary community, nor so much of the general arts community. Fast Bucks, and everything they brought to what was the more general culture, is mostly gone too.

    But what “Anomous”(sic) does not get right is that the debauchery part of what Fantasy Fest was all about. It was not some mostly recent “decade” long effect, but a much longer part of the event, now merely what is left of what was once a much larger and more diverse event, that played to the soul of what was the old Key West. FF goes back to 1979 and has always been a little wild and somewhat ‘adult.’ What has changed is Key West and the people who now live there. Key West is now made up of people who came here to get away from the “normalcy” in their own lives and villages. It was a quirky and weird kind of place with it’s own freewheeling life style, liberal in not only it’s politics, but also in it’s culture and its lifestyle. A place where some old ‘odd’ soul could go and not be judged by the judgmental ‘normal’ person from someplace else. Then, as so many of these people who came here to visit, decided to move here, because they found our way of life so attractive, they then began to change Key West. Gone is the edginess, gone is the weirdness and gone is the culture. Now people here live in gated communities and flock to chain stores and restaurants that can be found in ANY old town in America.

    So, if taking the ‘tits’ out of Fantasy Fest is what this ‘new’ Key West wants, so be it. But remember, it’s the locals (who ever they now think they are) who will ruin Key West.

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