It's time for Coconut Grove's annual, end-of-year street party and parade, the King Mango Strut, with the 30th Anniversary Strut kicking off this Saturday, December 31st at 2 p.m. The satirical parade takes humorous shots at the year's biggest stories, with organizers this year promising to "keep you laughing longer than Kim Kardashian's marriage."
To get ready for the parade, Short Order got in touch with organizer Antoninette Baldwin for some tips on tailgating and getting in the Mango spirit. "What else do you have to do New Year's Eve Day?" she asks. "You should end your year laughing at the highlights of the past year."
Half the fun of the Strut is the pre-party, so here are some guidelines to making the most of the day:
Early mangos will also be able to drop off tables, chairs, coolers, bounce houses, whatever before the streets are closed off. (Check out a parking map here.) If you prefer public transportation, then hop on the Metrorail and head to the Coconut Grove station. There'll be buses shuttling between the parade and the Metro every 15 minutes. The good news is there are plenty of places to grab breakfast in the neighborhood. George's, for one, is still taking reservations.
Set Up Camp
This year the organizers are encouraging attendees to bring tents in real Occupy tradition. If you're not pitching a tent then it's important to plan your location well. The west side of Main Highway (aka the street in front of Green Street) is a great option as the parade commences at the corner of Commodore and Main Highway with a pre-parade mini-pageant and the crowning of about 275 Little Miss Mangos at 1:30 p.m.
Divy Up Food Duties
Food and drinks are crucial. Yes, you can make reservations for a nearby restaurant but we love the non-stop snacking options, a tail gate provides. When planning your meals, think concrete jungle brunch picnic meets elementary school bakesale. In other words, easy to eat street food. The Grove is crawling with options to buy pre-parade necessities. You have Farmers Market, Gardner's, and a little further off Whole Foods in South Miami.
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You'll need a cooler or ten to hold ice, water, sodas, beers (we'd prefer craft), orange juice and champagne. It's the weekend, drinking commences at breakfast. On the way in, you can stop at Big Daddy Liquors (next to Flanigans) which has an impressive selection of bottles and a small section of craft beers.
Stay Within The Perimeter
You can also patronize the myriad local bars and restaurants like Le Bouchon du Grove, LuLu, and Mr. Moe's. But you'll find reservations are hard to come by even at the friendliest of establishments. Albert Borrero of Sandbar says, "People start asking about the King Mango strut weeks ahead. It's a staple. People all want those tables out front but we don't do reservations." Still, Sandbar's Saturday morning special of $10 Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys starting at 10 a.m. makes it much easier to get there early and stick around until the parade starts.