Tag Archives: Miami

King Mango Strut in Coconut Grove

Bring Your Enthusiasm and Sense of Humor to King Mango Strut in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida

King Mango Strut is an annual event held in Coconut Grove, Florida on the last Sunday of the year. Since its beginnings in 1982 as a poke in the ribs to the Orange Bowl’s King Orange Jamboree Parade organizers who snubbed The Mango Marching Band. For some odd reason, they didn’t have any use for a couple of Grove residents who used kazoos and other eclectic “music makers” to entertain the crowd as they marched along wearing conch shells on their heads.

In retaliation, the King Mango Strut was born. Turning bitterness to laughter, King Mango Strut is no ordinary parade. Instead, it offers participants and onlookers an irreverent tongue-in-cheek review of newsworthy events of the past year. Oftentimes described as “the weirdest parade in the universe”, its participants vow to “put the NUT back in Coconut Grove”. Be sure to bring your sense of humor to this event, because boundaries of good taste are oftentimes tested!

If you visit Florida this year, and you are in the metro Miami area, don’t miss the 32nd annual King Mango Strut held on December 29th. The parade starts at 2 PM (come early for a good seat) and the “After-Strut-Party” continues until 6 PM in Commodore Plaza. It’ll be quite a party.

The good citizens of Coconut Grove know how to celebrate (photo courtesy of Michael Wayne Cole studio).There’s something here to appeal to every sense of humor, from political (Michael Wayne Cole studio) to protest (photo courtesy of flickr.com/lurker), whether complaint (photo courtesy of Michael Wayne Cole studio), environmental concern (photo courtesy of Michael Wayne Cole studio) or personal entreaty (photo courtesy of flickr.com/lurker).

Some of the marching bands, such as the New Orleans Funeral Marching Band, travel some distance to join in the revelry. Others, such as the Grove Jugglers, are local. And if you’ve ever had a longing to be Grand Marshall, you may bid for that honor on ebay.

No mangoes were hurt during the parade? Well, THAT’s a relief!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlpa/6609590143/in/photostream/

(photo courtesy of Michael Wayne Cole studio)

If you wish to participate, download the entry form from the King Mango Strut website. Entry is free (however, donations to help defray costs are happily accepted) and there are no other requirements (except safety rules) for qualification to participate. Whether onlooker or participant, if quirky, good-natured fun is for you, come strut your stuff with other zany fun seekers at the King Mango Strut in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida.

 

Inland Florida: The Crowley Property

How do you achieve a change of perspective? For me, it requires a ride out to the country…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…and a walk down the old trail, a cattle trail which once led from the County Seat down to the Tamiami Trail. From there, the Crackers (named for the cowboys’ cracking whips) drove their cattle to Fort Myers for markets north or further south to Miami for shipment to Cuba:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But, before we start… does anybody need to use the bathroom? (Don’t mention my name or you’ll get a seat with a hole in it):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Should we go this way?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Or would you rather take this way?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Okay, we’ll take the stairs…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

… which leads to a path to nowhere…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Which way should we go?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I chose the right fork. The thing about swamps is that most of the time, the water isn’t that deep….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…and beauty is a hard won concept:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But fighting through the muck…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…and the mire…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…leads to wide open vistas:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Since the weather was beastly hot with suffocating humidity, we were completely and utterly alone in the swamp, where dead silence is broken by the deafening noise from billions of grasshoppers, the buzz of bee-like creatures that seemed to dive-bomb from out of nowhere, and an eerie mockingbird that laughed at us from above, telling us, “Hahahaha, you’ll never get out alive.” Oh, and the rustling leaves from a scurrying animal trying to avoid meeting us…was that a snake or a frightened squirrel? The butterflies were abundant, delicately fluttering around us. Gnats buzzed around my neck and little biting critters tried to hitchhike on my shirt and I imagined how alone the first settlers must have felt out there.

I started out fresh and clean on our walk and emerged looking like something the cat dragged in! My hair was plastered to my head; I was sweating buckets, and watching my step carefully. But I went into the swamp as a bundle of nerves and came out calm. Why? The alone-ness of the area, I suppose, nothing more than a vast marsh at the end of a long hike. Perhaps it was the calming effect ancient oaks emit, or simply thinking about something other than money and world peace and whether we’re going to hell in a hand basket.

We stopped and bought ribs and brisket from the roadside BBQ man and had a fine lunch. My day was brown and green and dark and mysterious and, at the end, punctuated by rising white and gray clouds over endless marsh, a reminder that places of refuge can still be found, a place where the world cannot intrude.

May you find your refuge regardless of where you live in the world, but if you reside in Florida, I highly recommend a visit to the Crowley property in Myakka City.