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KEY WEST (CBSMiami/FloridaKeysNewsBureau) – Another big night of fun took place at the southernmost point of the United States.

Thousands of revelers in Key West welcomed 2017 with the “drop” of a female impersonator known as Sushi perched in a super-sized red high-heel shoe.

The annual “Red Shoe Drop,” staged on the island’s famed Duval Street, was one of Key West’s four subtropical takeoffs on the traditional New Year’s Eve “ball drop” in New York City’s Times Square.

Elegantly dressed in a self-designed gown inspired by the Cinderella story, Sushi, the alter ego of Gary Marion, was lowered from the Bourbon St. Pub balcony as the final seconds of 2016 ticked away.

As the clock struck midnight, she landed and popped the cork on a bottle of champagne, welcoming 2017 while thousands of revelers cheered and applauded.

A few blocks away on lower Duval Street, crowds watched a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, descend to the flat roof of Sloppy Joe’s Bar.

At the Schooner Wharf Bar in the island city’s 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.

And at the Ocean Key Resort, a huge replica of a Key lime wedge “splashed down” into a larger-than-life margarita glass.

Other Florida Keys New Year’s Eve festivities included 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)


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