January 3, 2012
The King Mango Strut is an annual parade through downtown Coconut Grove typically held on the last Sunday of the year. This year, because the last Sunday of 2011 happened to fall on the same day as Christmas, the parade was held on the afternoon of December 31, conveniently shepherding partiers to the Grove early in the day to kick off a New Year’s party that likely did not end until the next morning.
The Strut began in 1982 as a much smaller parody of the more well-known Junior Orange Bowl Parade, which makes its way down Miracle Mile every New Year to celebrate the annual Orange Bowl football game (held this year on January 4 at SunLife Stadium, pitting the West Virginia Mountaineers against the Clemson Tigers). The Strut is known for lampooning the year in pop-culture and news events, and this year, the parade did not disappoint. The not necessarily family-friendly event was #Occupy-themed this year, and marchers offered various spoofs on 99%-type ideas.
1. Spirit – A Canes fan pokes fun at Tim Tebow’s outspoken Christianity. Spectators were encouraged to bring tongue-in-cheek displays such as this sign, and others’ signs occasionally bordered on the profane.
2. We are the 99%! – The Barnacle Society marches in the 2011 King Mango Strut. The charitable organization’s mission is to promote and preserve downtown Coconut Grove’s Barnacle, the historic home of noted yacht designer and early Coconut Grove resident Ralph Middleton Munroe.
3. Katy the Good Witch – This year’s “strut celebrity” was former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson, a figure whom Strut organizers touted as a “never recalled/never indicted/never removed-by-the-governor” champion of good government on a commission which has at times functioned less than transparently. In 2010, Sorenson declined to run for an expected re-election as the 8th district’s commissioner, a position she had held since 1994, citing her disgust with downtown Miami’s corrupt political culture.
4. #Occu-potty – To the laughter of the crowd, marchers lampoon the Occupy movement by wheeling around their “Occu-potty,” which included an occupant, naturally.
5. Ron Magill – The parade’s Grand Marshall this year was Zoo Miami communication director Ron Magill, who has worked in wildlife photography and zookeeping for over 30 years.
6. Long Live the King Mango – A parade float makes its way down Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove. The parade stretched from Main Highway through Cocowalk area and concluded on Grand Avenue near SW 32nd Avenue.