01 January 2020
KEY WEST, Fla. -- New Year's Eve revelers in subtropical Key West enjoyed six warm-weather takeoffs on New York City's Times Square "ball drop" — including the "drop" of a female impersonator in a super-sized red high heel shoe.

On Key West's Duval Street outside the Bourbon St. Pub complex, festivities Tuesday night starred drag queen Sushi, dressed in an elegant handmade Asian ensemble and perched in the giant red shoe suspended high above the crowd.

As the final seconds of 2019 ticked away, Sushi — the alter ego of Key West resident Gary Marion — was lowered in the shoe from the complex's balcony toward the crowd below, landing as the clock struck midnight.

Down the street outside Sloppy Joe’s Bar, thousands of people gathered  to watch a gigantic manmade conch (PRONOUNCED ‘KONK’) shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, descend to the flat roof of the bar — a hangout of famed author Ernest Hemingway when he lived in Key West during the 1930s.

At the Schooner Wharf Bar in the Key West Historic Seaport, New Year's Eve revelry saluted the Florida Keys' seafaring heritage with the "drop" of a pirate wench from the top of a sailing ship's mast.

Spectators in Key West also applauded a huge replica of a Key lime wedge splashing down into a larger-than-life margarita glass, the “landing” of a flight attendant in a section of a replica aircraft at a spot called the birthplace of Pan American World Airlines, and a faux “tuna drop” at a local saloon.

Elsewhere in the Florida Keys, activities including waterfront fireworks displays were staged to welcome 2020.

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