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King Mango Strut Still Zany Despite Dwindling Numbers (photos and video)

Perhaps it was just a boring year in politics. Or maybe it was just a little too nippy for our thin-skinned population. But Sunday’s 2010 King Mango Strut drew sparser crowds to Coconut Grove than in years past.

Still, after 29 years, the annual parade that parodies the year’s headlines was just as zany as ever.

“Of all the parades in Miami, this one is the biggest one, even though it’s a little down this year,” said Tom Falco, publisher of the Coconut Grove Grapevine.

Truth be told, Miami is really not a parade kind of city. At least not anymore.

Back in the 1970s, the Orange Bowl Parade would draw more than a half-million spectators to Biscayne Blvd on New Year’s Eve. But that was before they killed off the parade in 2002 due to lack on corporate sponsorship, spectator interest and television coverage.

It was in 1982 when Coconut Grove residents Glenn Terry and Bill Dobson tried to enter the Orange Bowl Parade but were rejected because they didn’t fit into the program.

That was when they decided to start their own parade in Coconut Grove. And thus, the King Mango Strut was born.

As they explain it on the King Mango Strut website:

A funny thing happened on the way to the Orange Bowl Parade. Well, for one thing, they wanted a lot of money just to get in. Then there was a limit to how many units could be in the parade and a design committee to approve your design.

Bill and Glenn wanted to enter as the Merry Mango Marching Band, wearing conch shells on their heads, playing kazoos and banging on garbage cans. The committee rejected them!

And the Orange Bowl Parade dwindled in popularity, the King Mango Strut was always sure to fill the streets of Coconut Grove the last Sunday of the year.

But now the King Mango Strut appears to be dwindling in popularity judging by last Sunday’s crowd. Only time will tell how long they will continue the tradition of the King Mango Strut, considering the Grove did away with its annual bed races, only to restore them this year.

On January 2, the 49th Annual Jr. Orange Bowl Parade, which features South Florida teens and children, will be held in Coral Gables.









Related Categories: Miami: Things to Do,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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