Diana Nyad to Lead Key West Fantasy Fest Parade

Diana Nyad will serve as grand marshal for the Key West Fantasy Fest Parade Oct. 26.

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Florida Keys News Bureau

After becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys without a shark cage, Diana Nyad is taking off once more -- this time on a parade float.

Nyad will lead Key West's annual Fantasy Fest Parade down Duval Street at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26.

This year's festival theme will be "Super Heroes, Villains... & Beyond" and festival organizers said Nyad was a clear choice to lead the parade.

"Given the festival theme this year, Diana is the perfect choice," Fantasy Fest Director Linda O'Brien said in a news release. "The physical and mental strength she displayed during her swim prove she's a real-life superhero."

The 64-year-old completed the 53-hour swim on Sept. 2 on her fifth try over the last 30 years. The swim covered 110 miles and she did it without the protection of a shark cage.

Nyad's float will be decorated in commemoration of her historic swim.

The procession includes more than 50 motorized floats that feature music and light shows, accompanied by Caribbean bands, marching groups and street dancers.

Last year's procession attracted about 50,000 spectators and more than 45 floats, bands and costumed marching groups. Fantasy Fest is worth about $30 million to the Florida Keys economy, according to officials.

The festival begins Friday Oct. 18 with a Bahama Village Goombay Festival and ends Sunday Oct. 27 with "The Fat Lady Sings" Tea Dance.

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