By FloridaKeysNewsBureau for SouthFloridaReporter.com, Dec. 31, 2015 – KEY WEST, Fla. — Frost-free subtropical Key West may not be a winter wonderland, but it was a “weiner wonderland” for more than 160 dachshunds Thursday afternoon.
That’s when the dogs and their human companions staged the annual New Year’s Eve Key West Dachshund Walk in the island city’s picturesque downtown.
Hundreds of spectators watched the parade of pooches, which provides an informal, family-friendly prelude to Key West’s nighttime New Year’s Eve revelry.
Many four-legged participants wore costumes or offbeat accessories. Standouts included dogs garbed as wieners in buns, sea creatures, a fuzzy white unicorn, a mobile piñata and a creature carrying a figure of “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader.
Some dogs from other breeds joined in as well, becoming “honorary dachshunds” for the parade.
Later on New Year’s Eve, tens of thousands of human revelers are expected to throng Key West’s downtown and waterfront for multiple subtropical takeoffs on New York City’s traditional Times Square ball drop.
Chief among them is the annual “red shoe drop” starring female impersonator Sushi. Dressed in a gown and perched in a supersized red high-heel shoe suspended above the crowd, Sushi presides over festivities at the Bourbon St. Pub complex on Duval Street — and is to be lowered in her high-heel from the complex’s balcony as 2016 arrives.
About 90 minutes before her descent, the shoe will serve as a wedding venue for the marriage of Sushi and her longtime partner. New Year’s Eve revelers in Key West can witness one of the final LGBT weddings of 2015, the same year that saw same-sex marriage legalized nationwide.
A few blocks away, crowds can celebrate while watching a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, descend to the roof of Sloppy Joe’s Bar. In the island city’s Historic Seaport, a pirate wench is to be lowered from the top of a tall ship’s mast outside the Schooner Wharf Bar. And a celebration at the Ocean Key Resort is to feature a huge replica of a Key lime wedge “splashing down” into a larger-than-life margarita glass.
New Year’s Eve revelry elsewhere in the Florida Keys includes waterfront fireworks displays and parties in Key Largo and Islamorada as 2016 arrives.