02 January 2018
KEY WEST, Fla. – Canines had a doggone good time in Key West Sunday, when the annual Key West Dachshund Walk kicked off New Year’s Eve celebrations in the island city’s historic Old Town. 

More than 200 short-legged, long-bodied dogs and their owners gathered for the procession — an informal, family-friendly prelude to the after-dark revelry scheduled to welcome 2018. 

Tail-wagging participants included standard and miniature dachshunds — among them "grand marshal" Cricket, an 8-year-old charmer from Big Pine Key -- as well as a few "weiner-dog wannabes" representing other breeds.

Many wore costumes and offbeat accessories, drawing laughter and applause from spectators lining the short parade route. 

Elizabeth Stentzel of York, Pennsylvania, costumed her 2-year-old dachshund Nelson as a horse carrying Sheriff Woody from the "Toy Story" films.
Other standouts included a 'Wizard of Oz ensemble featuring dogs garbed as the Tin Man and a flying monkey, a "rasta" dachshund with dreadlocks, and dogs dressed as jailbirds, ballerinas, superheroes and even a bright yellow chicken. 

Later on New Year's Eve, tens of thousands of human revelers are expected to throng Key West's downtown and waterfront for unique warm-weather takeoffs on New York City's traditional Times Square ball drop. 

Chief among them is the "drop" of female impersonator Sushi in a super-sized red high-heel shoe on the island's famed Duval Street. Just before midnight a dazzlingly gowned Sushi, perched in the shoe, is to be lowered from the balcony of Key West's Bourbon St. Pub complex.

Revelers also can celebrate in Key West by watching a giant manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, "drop" to the roof of Sloppy Joe's Bar. In the Key West Historic Seaport, a pirate wench is to be lowered from the top of a tall ship's mast outside the Schooner Wharf Bar. And at the Ocean Key Resort, a huge replica of a Key lime wedge is to splash down into a larger-than-life margarita glass. Finally, there’s the drop of a "unicorn" at The Porch bar and a "tuna" at the Smokin" Tuna Saloon.

The air temperature in Key West at midnight is expected to be 66 degrees fahrenheit according to forecasters at the Key West National Weather Service.
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