Moonfest: A Clematis Street Tradition

image by
image by
image by
image by
image by
image by

"Moonfest, there was Fantasy Fest in Key West, and that always seemed like an interesting and non-ordinary event for Halloween. And, we kind of wanted to start something closer to home. But kind of model after that street event, and there's something for everybody. It's a free event for everybody to come to for Halloween," says Moonfest creator Rodney Mayo.

Every year Rodney and his partner, Maurice Costigan, pull out all the stops for the Clematis Street Halloween tradition which began back in 1993.

"It's kind of been a rocky road. The first event, we had an attendance of about 5,000 which completely surprised us. But, then it kind of just grew exponentially from there. We went from 5,000 to 10,000, and it's just gotten bigger every year."

Some of the events include adult and children costume contests, local bands, food vendors, a laser light show and dancing until the early morning hours. But Rodney admits this isn't what makes the event.

"The attraction is the people that come. Usually, they outdo anything we can do."

Come in your street clothes if you want, but you'll be in the minority.

"The costumes that people come in. Most people tend to dress up in costumes. You can sit out there all night and just watch them. Some of them are hilarious and outrageous, and it's fun," describes Maurice.

"One of the funniest ones I've seen was a guy who came dressed up as a black and white bull with a nose ring, bell, the whole works. And he had about 30 female cows behind him all, and they were all in costume. And he'd walk up into the bar with his herd of cows. He do his goofy grunts and snorts, ring his bell, and then he'd go off down the street, and they'd have to follow him everywhere."

And Moonfest serves as a way to raise money for nonprofit organizations.

Rodney says, "Turtle Nest Village is the one we're working with this year. They are a foster care, nonprofit organization. It's been around for about seven years. And then Moonfest is also nonprofit, so any money that Moonfest makes goes to do more events throughout the year."

And, you don't have to travel far to enjoy this street festival.

"If you've never been to a Moonfest, it's probably the only event like it - in less your drive down to the Key West area - where it's a collective event. And it's going to attract everybody, and it kind of brings more of a big city feel to a really small city and a small street."

For more information on Moonfest, visit