Coconut Grove

Not much is real at King Mango Strut in Coconut Grove, except the laughs

 

Special to the Miami Herald

A drunken Rob Ford made a guest appearance in Coconut Grove on Sunday.

OK, maybe it wasn’t the real Ford — the outrageous Toronto Mayor who made headlines this year for his drug use and other antics — but a Ford impersonator who served as grand marshal of the 32nd annual King Mango Strut.

Audiences cheered as the fake Ford took a swig of Hennessey before leading off the strut, which drew thousands despite a light rain.

Karen Ballard, 54, of Royal Palm Beach handed the impersonator four little baggies of flour — meant to represent cocaine.

“We brought Rob Ford a present to make him feel welcome,” she joked.

It’s that kind of raw, ribald humor that the Coconut Grove parade is known for. The over-the-top street party requires a certain sense of humor as it pays homage to headliners of the year — such as a Miley Cyrus look-a-like who strutted the route with a wrecking ball and sledgehammer. Then there were the Kardashian sisters.

As for the politicians, there were other impersonators, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis.

“We have the same kind of audience that The Daily Show, Colbert Report or SNL would appeal to,” said King Mango Strut President Mike Lucas. “We don’t dumb down for anybody.”

Laura Kelly, who attended the parade with a few friends, declared the group the “humor police.”

“We are here to make sure that people are having a good time,”said Kelly, 56, of Fort Pierce. If they found someone who wasn’t laughing, that person would get a “citation.”

The friends also rated passing floats by holding up score cards.

“What keeps us coming back: the drinks, the humor,” Kelly said. “It’s the Grove.”

It started to rain, “but you know what, you work through it.” said Ellen White of Miami Springs. “It’s what the Grove is about: hanging out and having fun.”

“This is a live-action satire year-end-review,” said Carlos Mora, 32, who lives on a boat docked near Coconut Grove and who has been attending the parade for more than a decade.

“There are no rules — in fact, ‘break the rules’ is the rule,” he said.

Crowd favorites this year included Members of Mensa, a high-IQ society, bringing attention to the NSA by dressing in all black and carrying signs with phrases like: We know what you did and We know if you’ve been bad or good.

Obamacare, texting while driving and the debt ceiling also were headlines featured in the parade.

One of White’s favorites was a group posing as the Narcissistic Selfie Association, who made their way along the parade route taking selfies with their cellphones.

As the group worked its way down Main Highway, White, 52, jumped in to take a selfie as the crowd passed.

The laid-back nature of the parade keeps people coming back year after year.

“It’s a nice way to spend Sunday afternoon,” said Michael Lorion, of Coral Gables, who arrived at 7:45 a.m. to get a prime spot. “It’s always fascinating to see what people come up with.”

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