31 December 2019
KEY WEST, Fla. -- The southernmost island in the continental U.S. began its New Year’s Eve festivities Tuesday with a wacky parade of pooches.
 
The 15th annual Key West Dachshund Walk provided a family-friendly prelude to the rowdier nighttime revelry planned to welcome 2020. Nearly 300 dachshunds and their people gathered in Key West’s historic downtown for the “wiener wonderland” walk.
 
Many four-legged participants wore costumes or quirky accessories. Standouts included dachshunds portraying hot dogs in buns, a pink flamingo, a hula dancer and even the World War I flying ace “Red Baron” riding in a tiny replica fighter plane.
 
While some non-dachshunds managed to infiltrate the procession, they were welcomed as “wiener dog wannabes.”
 
Spectators lined the walking route — deliberately kept brief because of the dachshunds’ short legs — applauding their favorite canines.
 
Later Tuesday night, tens of thousands of human revelers are expected to throng the island's historic district for six subtropical takeoffs on New York City's traditional Times Square ball drop.
 
They include the “drop” of drag queen Sushi, perched in a super-sized red high-heeled shoe; the lowering of a gigantic manmade conch (PRONOUNCED ‘KONK’) shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, to the flat roof of Sloppy Joe's Bar; and the descent of a “pirate wench” from atop a tall ship's mast.
 
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