Drag racers don’t usually wear false eyelashes and staggeringly high heels, but they did during Key West’s Great Conch Republic Drag Race.
Staged Saturday afternoon by the island city’s Bourbon Street Pub Complex, the racing action featured high-heeled female impersonators — sometimes called drag queens — strutting their stuff complete with big hair, elaborate makeup and colorful dresses or sporting attire.
Contestants raced on foot down a portion of Key West’s famed Duval Street, navigated an obstacle course of automobile tires, and pushed or rode in souped-up shopping carts as spectators watched the spectacle.
Entrants were judged on their speed as they attempted to dash down the course. Some were slowed by mishaps including lost wigs, near-falls and upsets caused by “road hazards.”
The wacky drag challenge was part of Key West’s annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration that commemorates the Florida Keys’ symbolic 1982 secession from the United States — an action prompted by the unexpected installation of a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint at the head of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway.
The 2018 celebration runs through Sunday, April 29, with other events including a lighthearted sea battle featuring tall ships and a parade down Duval Street. billed as “the world’s longest.”