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Rain didn’t dampen 2013 King Mango Strut

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Leaden skies threatening rain discouraged many would-be parade-goers from venturing into Coconut Grove for the 32nd annual King Mango Strut on Sunday, December 29, 2013.

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The crowd was small but enthusiastic. It included the usual contingent of local residents, plus visitors from distant places as diverse as Denmark; Cape Breton, Canada; and Pittsburgh, PA. Everyone got a little wet while enjoying a good show.

Umbrellas popped up all along the parade route as the rain began in earnest about 20 minutes before step-off. It was still falling at 2 p.m. when the parade began with the traditional ceremonial banana drop – but about 10 minutes later it miraculously stopped.

As always, the first float was a Shell Lumber flatbed truck full of Little Miss Mango Pageant winners (everyone who entered).

Open and closed

Political satire took center stage this year. The theme was B-Questered, a play on the battles in the U.S. Congress to sequester funds, raise the debt ceiling, and keep the government open for business:

• One group of marchers wore T-shirts with DEBT emblazoned on their chests. Each held aloft a cardboard ceiling. • The band Roadkill, riding on a flatbed truck, sang a noisy rendition of I Got a Bad Case of Obamacare.

Grand marshal

The parade’s grand marshal, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, bears a striking resemblance to Coconut Grove businessman David Collins. He received a key to the City of Miami from Mayor Tomas Regalado and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff (whose district includes the Grove).

Other notables included Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Pope Francis, the first gay pope and female pope, the Marching Freds, and the Hare Krishnas.

Also appearing was an Iranian mullah carrying signs promoting his country’s plans for peaceful use of nuclear power. Asked about what looked like a nuclear bomb under his arm, he said it was really a central heating plant to keep Israel warm in winter.

Environmental issues raised in the parade included genetically modified organisms created by Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto Company, and the threat of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in the Everglades to release oil and natural gas from rock strata deep underground.

A new cultural trend

A large, raucous group from the Narcissistic Selfie Association spoofed the increasingly popular practice of people taking smartphone photos of themselves in every conceivable setting, including the bathroom. The mascot of this group was a VW Beetle with a big hand holding a smartphone mounted on its bumper.

In addition to Roadkill, bands participating in the parade were 18 Wheelers, Iko Iko, and School of Rock. Afterwards, the bands performed until nightfall in the heart of the Grove, while restaurants, art galleries, and other businesses welcomed the parade-goers.

Video of the parade was live-streamed online at , where it will be archived for future viewing.

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