Nearly three years out from the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, many tried-and-true traditions that brought communities together are only now beginning to crawl back from their pandemic-related hiatus.
One such tradition is Miami's satirical parade, the King Mango Strut: a gathering of amateur performers and comedic locals in Coconut Grove out to get people chuckling by roasting just about everything.
"We make fun of politics, news, culture, whatever. As long as it's funny," says Michael Lucas, president of King Mango Strut Inc., the organization in charge of the event.
Previous years' paraders have dressed up as the infamous Art Basel banana
, Cuban eye (see: "Queer Eye"
) for the gringo guy, and zombie Spongebob killed by water pollution. Pretty much anyone with a silly idea for a costume or performance act is welcome to volunteer
Coconut Grovites will be mooooving through the streets come this January for the return of the King Mango Strut.
Photo by Art Seitz
Usually scheduled on the last Sunday of every year, the King Mango Strut has been on a break since the last walk in 2019 because of the pandemic. Now the funny festival is set to make a big return with the 39th annual parade January 8, 2023 at 2 p.m.
Lucas thinks this year's participants will have even more material than they did in the last parade.
"DeSantis' COVID cruise lines, Venezuelan migrant flights to Martha's Vineyard. There's lots of stuff," Lucas tells New Times.
"Back in 2019 we were inundated with Trump, and the problem with satire during the Trump years was you'd make a joke and a week later he'd actually do it. It's a lot easier now."
Lucas, 65, has been involved with the strut since 1998, when he joined the parade wearing a Bill Clinton mask and lipstick-stained boxers. He's seen the parade grow from its original life as a spoof on the King Orange Bowl Jamboree
in the 1980s to its own cultural event that's outlived the Miami Orange Bowl and managed to bring together thousands of Miamians every year who need to take things a little less seriously.
The first volunteer meeting for the King Mango Strut was November 2 at Barracuda Taphouse and Grill, but Lucas says there will be many more in the coming weeks. Anyone looking to get involved and join one of the meetings can sign up for email updates or call the "Mango Hotline" on the parade website
Lucas says that parade organizers help workshop a participant's performance idea and help make it funny and feasible — like the "Rick Scott fan club (population: 0)" concept from yesteryear.
The parade does accept donors and sponsors, but only if they can take a joke.
"If we can't make fun of you, we don't want you," Lucas says.
According to this parade poster, when it's not gobbling up your time, the Dolphin Expressway seems to be gobbling up gators.
Photo by Art Seitz