KEY WEST (CBSMiami/FKNB) — Celebrating canines kicked off New Year’s Eve festivities in Key West Saturday afternoon, as nearly 200 “wiener dogs” promenaded through the island city’s picturesque downtown in the annual Key West Dachshund Walk.
Thousands of spectators watched the parade of pooches, which provided an informal, family-friendly prelude to the rowdier nighttime revelry planned to welcome 2017.
Many four-legged participants wore costumes or offbeat accessories. A dachshund garbed as a “Star Wars” storm trooper took center stage in an ensemble featuring a woman dressed as Princess Leia, the character played by the late Carrie Fisher.
Other standouts included dogs costumed as wieners in buns, peace-nik pups riding a “flower power” wagon, castaways in a large orange life raft and a walking Tootsie roll.
Later Saturday night, tens of thousands of human revelers are expected to gather in the island’s historic district for four warm-weather takeoffs on New York City’s traditional Times Square ball drop.
At the Bourbon Street Pub complex, female impersonator Sushi is slated to “drop” while perched in a super-sized red high-heel shoe. Crowds can also celebrate by watching a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, descend to the roof of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, Ernest Hemingway’s former hangout.
In the 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 Ocean Key Resort, a large-scale replica Key lime wedge is to splash down into a huge margarita glass to welcome 2017.
New Year’s Eve festivities scheduled elsewhere in the Florida Keys include waterfront fireworks displays in Key Largo, Islamorada and Marathon.
(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)