KEY WEST (CBSMIAMI/FKNB) — Female impersonators sported high heels instead of oversized wheels in Key West for the Great Conch Republic Drag Race on Saturday.

Staged in the 700 block of Duval Street, the island’s aptly nicknamed “main drag,” the offbeat racing challenge bears little resemblance to traditional automobile drag racing. Instead, it featured a flock of female impersonators in full makeup and wigs “burning rubber” while trying not to break fingernails or disarrange dresses.

Participants attempted to sprint down the pavement wearing high heels as spectators cheered them on. Racers were required to navigate an obstacle course of vehicle tires and ride or push shopping carts.

Past years’ contestants have included a siren in a silver spandex dress and a purple-haired lovely wearing a hot-pink frock, pearls and a full beard.

Hosted by the Duval Street the drag challenge is part of Key West’s 32nd annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration. The 10-day festival commemorates the Florida Keys’ 1982 secession from the United States, prompted by the installation of a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint that stopped traffic at the head of the island chain.

The celebration began this weekend and runs through Sunday, April 27, with events including a sea battle featuring tall ships and an open-air bed race billed as “the most fun you can have in bed with your clothes on.”

©2014 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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