High heels instead of high octane powered the contestants in Key West’s Great Conch Republic Drag Race, a madcap marathon for female impersonators that took place Saturday.
Designed to showcase drag stars instead of dragsters, the wacky event gave contestants in wigs, makeup and outrageously high heels a chance to strut their stuff as they raced down Duval Street, Key West’s aptly nicknamed “main drag.”
The most notable entrants included a queenly beauty in a burgundy gown and feathered black cape, a blonde wearing a micro-mini and bunny ears, and a dazzling diva in a ruffled pink chiffon robe, pink boots and a full beard.
Rules of the road required the racers to navigate street hazards including an obstacle course of automobile tires. They also got a high-speed ride up the track in super-charged shopping carts propelled by local male dancers.
Hundreds of race enthusiasts lined the street to see the “girls” sprint and stagger through the course while trying to avoid falls, broken heels and wardrobe malfunctions. Judges evaluated entrants based on their speed.
Presented by the Bourbon St. Pub, the drag challenge is part of the annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration that commemorates the Florida Keys’ symbolic 1982 secession from the United States.
The celebration runs through Sunday, April 28, with events including a lighthearted sea battle featuring historic tall ships and a parade dubbed “the world’s longest” because its route stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.