Art, color and community spirit have returned to the cherished and eye-catching storefront windows of the former Fast Buck Freddie's on Duval Street.
Although the popular shop closed more than a year ago, its window "displays" once again are attracting tremendous attention.
Fantasy Fest Queen candidate "QMitch" Jones has taken up residency and made himself comfortable in the shop windows for a 24-hour sit-a-thon while raising money for his campaign that benefits AIDS Help.
Jones and invited guests entered the window at 8 p.m. Tuesday, settling comfortably in 25 Adirondack "thrones" that have been painted by local artists including Rick Worth, Fran Decker, Sean Callahan and the Seam Shoppe.
The 24-hour sit-a-thon, during which sidewalk passersby are invited to chat with the window residents, make donations for AIDS Help and sign a guest book, will culminate at 8 p.m. tonight when the 25 Adirondack "thrones" are auctioned off from the window at the corner of Duval and Fleming streets.
"I've invited everyone to come on down and bring attention to this cause," said Jones, who has lived in Key West for seven years and is originally from Rocky Mount, N.C.
This is his third attempt at a Fantasy Fest crown, and he was settling comfortably into a decorated "throne" Tuesday evening while making final preparations for the window experience.
The event brought back happy memories for Gregg McGrady, who lived in the same windows for nearly three days (56 hours) during his successful 2006 campaign for Fantasy Fest king.
"It was an amazing experience," McGrady recalled. "And it was really successful for AIDS Help, raising more than $10,000 through donations, sponsorships and people just making a donation when they signed the guestbook."
Jones and friends will be on display until 8 p.m. tonight when the Adirondack throne auction begins.
For more information visit theqisforqueen.com.