Fantasy Fest 2019 King Ryan Acker and Queen Karen Frank Noll continue their reign due to the COVID-related cancelations of subsequent fundraising campaigns. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly
There will be no king and queen fundraising campaign for Key West’s Fantasy Fest this year.
The Royal Campaign, an annual eight-week fundraising campaign for A.H. Monroe leading up to the island’s Fantasy Fest celebration in October, has been canceled, the nonprofit’s board of directors announced Friday afternoon.
“In an abundance of caution and recognizing its health services mission, the board of directors of A.H. of Monroe County, effective immediately, has canceled The Royal Campaign of Fantasy Fest 2021,” states a press release.
“Our King and Queen candidates are, of course, disappointed, but they are supportive of our sensitivity to the recent surge of COVID infection in Monroe County,” said AH Executive Director/CEO Scott Pridgen.
“The inability to enforce masking and/or vaccination contributed to today’s decision,” added Christopher Elwell, board president. “It is essential that we first protect the well-being of our neighbors, friends and supporters in the Keys, and the board opted to hope for ‘better days’ for the balance of 2021 and beyond.”
Pridgen emphasized that the agency will continue its own push and its community collaborations for masking and full vaccination.
“Our staff will continue to pursue every avenue to halt the rate of infection in our county,” Pridgen noted.
Key West city officials are slated to discuss the continuation or cancelation of upcoming special events at a city commission meeting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.