Published: Oct 22, 2011 8:52 PM EDT

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Key West's decadent Fantasy Fest is under way with a packed schedule of masquerade balls, street parties and costume contests.
This year's theme is "Aquatic Afrolic." The annual festival continues through Oct. 30 with nearly 50 events including a costume competition for pets and their owners and a headdress ball. An evening parade on an Oct. 29 is expected to attract more than 50,000 revelers.
At the kickoff Coronation Ball Friday, Key West residents Dave Taylor and Surrey Westrupp were crowned king and queen. Candidates campaigned for their crowns by staging fundraisers that amassed $181,480 for the AIDS Help organization.
Fantasy Fest debuted in 1979 to bolster tourism during a slow period. Now, tourism officials said it pumps some $30 million into the Florida Keys economy each year.

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