There is no group of Miami celebrities, or pseudo-celebrities, more revered than the list of grand marshals at the end-of-the-year farcical King Mango Strut in Coconut Grove. Actually, that list is kind of hard to come by. Some of the organizers can't event locate such a list, if one actually exists. You might have to sit back and coax the names out of the original organizers over a beer or several at one of their "organizational" gatherings in Coconut Grove.
Luckily, the last such meeting for this year's King Mango Strut on December 26 is coming up tomorrow night at The Grove Spot at 7 p.m. At the meeting, organizers will announce this year's grand marshal. His, her, or its name will be added to annals of Grove lore--alongside such notables as Janet Reno, Mr. Clucky the Chicken, Don Robertson (who? He bid $5,600 for the honor on Ebay) and former New Times and Miami Herald scribe Jim DeFede.
Those unfamiliar with the King Mango Strut parade should know it's a
parade only in the loosest possible definition of the word--kind of how
its makeshift floats are put together: usually with duct tape and only
hours before the procession winds its way through the Grove. But what
the parade lacks in structure or fine tuning it more than makes up for
with energy and originality. And that's how organizers aim to keep it.
"This is not a sleek production. The day it is and the day we stop using
duct tape to put it together is the day it is over," says Antoinette
Baldwin, one of the volunteers who helps organize the strut.
Part of what makes the strut so popular--besides its low maintenance
roots--is that it manages to be simultaneously consistent and
unpredictable. "It's the same event every year. What changes is what
happened during the year. The material is always fresh," Baldwin says.
"The corruption is the same. All we have to do is change the faces."
As well as naming this year's grand marshal, the Wednesday meeting is
also a fundraiser for the strut with attendees encouraged to buy $5
raffle tickets for a 7-day cruise and other prizes. And if you have a
funny idea for a float or to strut your stuff along the procession it's
not too late. Show up at the meeting and put it forth. If the group
likes it your in. If you want to volunteer to help, they'll take you.
The King Mango Strut has been doing its thing since 1982 when the
original organizers Glen Terry and Bill Dobson had an idea for a
marching band of kazooist to perform at the King Orange Parade. The
organizers of the now defunct event wouldn't have it. So Terry and
Dobson started their own parade. For 29 years it has made fun of just
about everything and anybody, including itself.
The King Mango Fun and FUNDraiser is at 7 p.m. at the Grove Spot (3324
Virginia St., Miami). The King Mango Strut will take place on December
26 at 2 p.m. Parade route includes Commodore Plaza, Main Highway and
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