The streets of Coconut Grove were filled with music and laughter Sunday afternoon as the 33rd annual King Mango Strut parade made its way through crowds of spectators, mocking this year’s greatest blunders.
On the top of the list was a mock “FanGate,” the notorious Florida governor’s debate between Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist.
At the parade, a fake Crist hoisted his fan while riding a Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Scott, portrayed by Richard Ives, later appeared from the crowd. The two argued and ended up having a pillow fight in the middle of Coconut Grove.
“The parade is one of the highlights of my year, even though they don’t seem to agree with my politics,” Ives joked. He has participated in the parade for the last 14 years, playing characters like President Barack Obama and the Grim Reaper. Ives has played Scott in the parade since he was first elected governor.
The wacky parade began as a banana was dropped at 2 p.m. on Commodore Plaza and Main Highway, then made its way to CocoWalk and circled back. After the parade, Commodore Plaza remained closed until about 6 p.m. as bands played for hundreds of locals and tourists visiting the area.
The King Mango Strut began in 1982 after founders Glenn Terry and Bill Dobson and their group, the Mango Marching Band, were denied entry into the King Orange Jamboree Parade for the Orange Bowl. This year’s slogan theme: “Life is just ebola cherries.”
Some memorable displays at this year’s parade included parodies of Kim Kardashian’s nude photo shoot that broke the Internet, Kim Jong-un and his group of North Korean hackers, and “Fearbola,” with a team wearing protective suits and masks waving dusters and spraying the crowd with disinfectant.
There was also a tribute to the legendary bar Tobacco Road closing this year, a parody of an incident when the University of Miami tried to sell endangered pine rockland to build a Walmart and the recent tolls that have been added on the 836 and 112 expressways, nicknamed “tollmageddon.”
Deborah and Duane Crisp, Coconut Grove residents and longtime King Mango Strut participants, created a cardboard toll booth labeled with the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority logo and “Sinpass.”
Walking inside the booth, Deborah Crisp led the group of members from rollbacktolls.com, a watchdog group for tolls in South Florida, collecting fake cash that had been handed out to to people in the crowd beforehand.
“We decided to make a toll booth because this is such a mayor issue,” said Crisp, who was glad about the turnout this year.
“It was pretty good this year,” she said. “The weather cooperated.”