Eight beautiful young girls were crowned "Little Miss Mango" as the sun set in Wynwood last Saturday. As they climbed down a ladder I was left alone on the truck that had served as a stage. I wondered, "How did this come to be?"
(photo by Les Cizek)
Creating the 30th annual King Mango Strut Parade in a barren field wasn't the easiest thing I'd ever done. The food trucks we were supposed to march around had been banned by the Forces of Darkness (see entry below).
We decided to make it work by creating an imaginary street in the dirt. Our royal procession would head down that.
Using a can of white chalk paint, John Barimo and I created the boundaries of a huge, oval thoroughfare. We named it "King Mango Boulevard".
At least with a make-believe road we could separate the marchers from spectators. Looking out into the crowd I tried to figure out who was who. Most were costumed and it was clear many spectators were being recruited into groups.
One young man was forced by his friends to don a huge blue box, "The Walking Red Light Camera". By the end of the parade he looked like the happiest guy on the planet.
As I began to get the marchers organized, the song, "Thriller", shot through the air. With it came eight female zombies lurching from the crowd. Their heads twitched as they began to dance in the dirt below me.
The had great moves considering they were dead.
When the song ended I picked up my bullhorn and asked everyone to prepare for a parade. It seemed like herding cats but somehow the marchers gathered on one end of the boulevard and the spectators on the other. I thought, "This could work!"
King Mango himself, all 6'6" of him, towered in front of the 100+ procession. He slowly lowered a mango on a string as we counted down from ten.At zero, parade captain Mike McFall shouted, "Let's move!" and the parade began to move.
Looking down from the truck bed I saw my dream parade passing by. The bevy of Little Miss Mangos followed the fruit king. Just behind them was the infamous police Lt. Pike pepper spraying a box-full of kittens.
School teachers complained about being overpaid and The Angry One Percenter's shouted, "Don't Tax Me, Bro" and "Wifi in all limos NOW!".
The rich folks got even more angry when military man,"General Disorder", clipped their heads with his flying Love Drone suspended from a bamboo stick. After that were marching slot machines, Lyin' Fish, and garbagemen collected anything signed by Romero Britto.
It was all that and more, over thirty colorful groups doing things you'd never expect to see in rocky mid-town parking lot. The procession made everyone in it, and everyone watching it, happy in some strange sort of way.
A friend later told me, "Your parade was fantastic, like watching a Fellini movie live.