Satire and merriment reigned supreme as the 31st annual King Mango Strut parade lurched through the heart of Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood on Sunday afternoon, December 30, 2012.
Based loosely on the title of the popular 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, the Strut struggled with the theme 50 Shades of Mango but managed to amuse its audience anyway. The all-volunteer extravaganza attracted 10,000 to 15,000 people – and dozens of dogs – from South Florida and other diverse locales including Montana, England, Germany, and Switzerland.
Others viewed a live streaming video on Arts and Culture TV.com, where it is now archived.
The only direct thematic reference was a fowl flock bearing a banner with the legend “50 Shades of Peacock A Critical Mess.” Members wore bird feet, and peacock tail feathers made of palm fronds. Several had beaks. Some tooted loud horns that sounded like a peacock’s raucous squawk.
Another critical mess called out for mirth was the recent November election. As soon as the ceremonial banana dropped to begin the Strut, Florida Gov. Rick Scott presented his streamlined 2014 election ballot, an eight-foot-long tome that flapped in a stiff breeze. Later in the parade, a Miami-Dade Elections Department port-a-potty voting booth symbolized 2012’s long lines and ballot snafus. The parade’s grand marshal, a chair mounted on the back seat of a convertible, represented actor Clint Eastwood’s much-maligned diatribe to an empty chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Other parade highlights
Other parade highlights included zany commentary on climate change, the demise of the Hostess Twinkie, and the recent selloff of most Miami Marlins star baseball players
The Sierra Club celebrated the rising sea levels associated with global warming, a job creator that will offer waterfront living for all. Among this groups’ signs: Surf Overtown, Surf’s Up in Little Haiti, Hialeah Harbor, Opalocka Ocean Club, Weston Yatch [sic] Club, Marlins Marine Stadium, Dadeland Mall & Marina, and Miami! Home of the Miami International Aquaport (MIA).
Deborah Crisp, an employee of Hostess Brands, Inc., which recently closed after 82 years, wore a chef’s hat and coat. Inside the coat she sewed 20 bootleg Twinkies filched from the production line during the company’s last days. Bearing a Twinkie in a coffin, members of the American Mensa contingent dressed in black tried hard to maintain their mournful expressions.
Also dressed in black were the Marlins’ recent recruits, sub-teenagers who won’t be able to play night games in 2013 due to curfew restrictions.
Additional Strutters included:
• President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Chavez, undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba, was rolled along the parade route in a hospital bed with Castro riding at his side in a wheelchair.
• Capital Hill Bullies, members of the “one percent” who claim to be job creators.
• Ganja Style, a group urging legalization of marijuana in Florida.
• The Marching Ralphs, from Commodore Ralph Munroe’s Barnacle, the oldest house in its original location in Miami-Dade County.
• A man wearing a python costume and a name tag: Monty.
Usual suspects on hand
Also on hand were the usual Strut suspects:
• The Marching Freds.
• Running of the Bull Sh*tters (at a livelier pace this year than last).
• Coconut Grove Juggling Exchange.
• Progressive New Orleans Funeral Band.
• The winners of the Little Mr. & Miss Mangoes contest (everyone who entered).
Bands participating in the parade were 18 Wheelers, RoadKill, Mr. Ree, and School of Rock. After the parade, the bands performed until nightfall in the heart of the Grove, while restaurants, art galleries, and other businesses welcomed the parade-goers.
Missing Inaction List
In the wake of the 2012 King Mango Strut, veteran Strut-watchers may be tempted to play Monday-morning quarterback and wonder at the absence of certain potentially spoofable personalities and events from the year just past.
This is not meant as criticism. The Strut’s disorganizers have only so much time in which to strut and so much space in which to move participants around the tight little triangle that comprises the Grove’s business district. Bringing an idea to reality also involves engaging people to buy into it (literally, given costs for paint, costume and float materials, etc.), dream up a funny way to spoof it, and put in the time to make it happen.
In any case, and in no particular order, here are my candidates for the 2012 King Mango Strut’s Missing Inaction List:
• President Barack Obama.
• Mitt Romney, who lost to Obama in the 2012 election.
• The leaders of the U.S. Congress: Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, and Reps. John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi.
• Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy, both of which gave South Florida wet kisses en route to doing more substantial damage elsewhere.
• The discovery of vicious Nile crocodiles in local waterways.
Also absent in 2012 were two long-time Strut fixtures: the Bahamian stilt-walkers and The Hare Krishnas.
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