King Mango Strut brings irreverent humor to downtown Coconut Grove


Hundreds came out to downtown Coconut Grove on Sunday for the annual comedic send-up of big local stories and events.

Carrying a casket, wearing all black and dark sunglasses, fans of the Twinkie carried R.I.P. signs to give the famed, but doomed treat its due at the 31st annual King Mango Strut parade.

And the Twinkie wasn’t the only one “honored” at the send-up. Other participants included Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in his death bed, Fidel Castro in a wheelchair and former Gen. David “Betray-us.” There were also dancing pot heads and a “very” young Miami Marlins team.

The holiday parade tradition took over the streets of downtown Coconut Grove on Sunday, mocking and punning the biggest local and national news events of the year.

This year’s Grand Marshal: the empty chair. Luckily, actor Clint Eastwood also came to walk at the parade.

It started with politics as the crowd booed as look-alikes of Florida Gov. Rick Scott and presidential candidate Mitt Romney handed out money to spectators for votes.

Then the one percent of the population, or the rich, offered jobs to the crowd and modeled their expensive clothing and sophisticated dogs.

To highlight the threat of global warming on our shoreline, a group of about 50 people wore their bathing suits, carried surfboards, scuba gear and mermaid outfits along the streets of places like Hialeah Harbor, Kendall Key, Opa-locka Ocean Club, Pembroke Pines Pier and Wynwood Waterway.

“Everyone will soon have waterfront properties in Miami,” said the announcer. “Miami, the new Venice!”

But it was not Gangnam, but Ganja-Style group that got the crowd dancing. They incorporated the popular song to a movement that would legalize marijuana in Florida. The idea came after this year’s voting legalized marijuana in various states.

The group of about 50 family members and friends wore flower pots in their heads and represented some of the most popular Miami Heat players: Dwane Weed and Le Bong James.

“It’s a joint effort. Every year we do this as a family and larger family tradition,” said group organizer Maya Ibars, who has been part of the parade since 2001.

They had a huge cigar on top of a car that ran on fumes and as they danced, bags of weed (oregano) were thrown to the crowd.

The porta-potty used as last year’s occu-potty was transformed into Miami-Dade’s cleanest voting machine, equipped with election-ready voting machines from the year 2000.

“Bringing you the world’s crappiest elections,” said the sign taped to the porta-potty door. Votes were being cast on toilet paper.

The Miami version of the Florida woman who earlier this year rode a manatee, sparking a manhunt, was also present. She rode her bike, decorated with a life-size manatee.

And the Miami Marlins were also roasted. A dozen nine-year-olds dressed as the 2013 team, assured that they would be just as good as the new rookie team. They threw balls at the crowd and held up “I pitch for pennies” and “Will hit for hot dog” signs.

Parade spectator Amanda Force found her own way to join in the fun. Like an Olympic judge, she and friends rated the parade performers. As the parade went by they held up “10” signs for their favorites.

“Over the years we’ve seen good sense of humor, dry sense of humor and some stuff that doesn’t make sense,” Force said.

Some jokes fall flat on the crowd. “But that’s the fun of this,” Force said.

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