For the past four years Christine and Steve Godlewski have been hosting their Lower Keys float building club at their home on Big Pine Key, to build the most creative, sleek, and artistic float in the Fantasy Fest Parade.
“We are all best friends for the six weeks when we are putting the float together,” said Christine Godlewski. “The parade is no doubt the best hour and half of every year.”
Collectively, the Lower Keys Fluffers decide on a float idea that can win grand prize at the Captain Morgan Fantasy Fest Parade. Then each member pays $110 — for drinks, materials, and outfits when joining the club. They gut the float, salvaging what they can from the previous year, and start from scratch to rebuild the float and design the costumes. They have a good time doing it and winning makes it even better.
“The first year we won second, the second year we one the grand prize with our Sea Monkey Float, the third year … we got third. This year we hope to do well — our float idea is really outside the box,” said Christine.
Like other floats, this one will come equipped with a generator, as well as a bathroom, and, most importantly, a loud sound system.
“The music can never be loud enough,” said club member Mike Petro. “The best part is turning from Greene to Front Street and seeing the huge crowd of people jamming to the music.”
Steve Godlewski takes pride in the diverse group’s hard work which has grown from 50 to 85 members in four years.
“We are one of the few floats not related to businesses. Just people that want to have a good time,” said Steve. “I went on a float some years back and there was a limit to the number of people that could fit, so I decided to make my own float.”
Although the details are super secret until the float is unveiled on the parade route, the float builders say the theme is “Heroes to Zeros,” to coordinate with Fantasy Fest’s Superheroes, Villains, and Beyond theme. They also let is slip the crew will be dressed as oversized baseball players and provocative nurses.
The parade will take over Duval Street at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 and bring spectators in the tens of thousands. Make sure to get to Key West early and find a spot to watch the spectacular floats.