31 December 2018
KEY WEST, Fla. -- America's southernmost island "went to the dogs" New Year’s Eve, when hundreds of short-legged, long-bodied canines and their people staged the annual Key West Dachshund Walk. 

The procession in the island's historic downtown -- with many dogs wearing quirky costumes or accessories -- was a lighthearted, family-friendly prelude to the nighttime revelry planned to celebrate 2019's arrival. 

Organizers estimated that more than 300 dachshunds participated in the pooch parade. A few dogs from other breeds managed to infiltrate the event, earning "honorary dachshund" status for the day.

Among the most notable were dogs dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, a cheerleader, wieners in buns, superheroes and a saddled "horse" carrying a tiny cowboy rider.  

Missy Keeley came all the way from Indianapolis to participate, costuming her three-year-old dachshund-chihuahua mixes, Findley and Hadley, as a sky-blue peacock and a "boiled" lobster.  

Monday night, tens of thousands of human "party animals" are expected to throng Key West's historic district for six warm-weather takeoffs on New York City's traditional Times Square ball drop.

They include a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, "dropping" on the rooftop of Sloppy Joe's Bar; a pirate wench descending from atop a tall ship's mast; the "drop" of drag queen Sushi perched in a super-sized red high-heeled shoe; an offbeat "tuna drop"; a huge faux Key lime wedge splashing down into a giant margarita glass; and the landing of a replica aircraft carrying a "flight attendant" that salutes Key West's heritage as the 1927 birthplace of Pan American Airways. 

Planned festivities elsewhere in the Florida Keys include waterfront fireworks displays and the "drop" of an anchor at a historic replica lighthouse. 
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