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Key West New Year's Eve Features Early 'Drag Queen Drop'

KEY WEST (CBSMiami/FKNB) - A female impersonator "dropped" in a giant replica of a high-heel shoe at a Key West entertainment and hotel complex Thursday night to mark the beginning of 2021 prior to a 10 p.m. curfew mandated by the city government to help prevent potential COVID-19 spread.

Thursday night's festivities starred drag queen Sushi, the alter ego of Key West resident Gary Marion, dressed in an elegant hand-sewn ensemble and a face shield to guard against the virus.

Perched in the giant red shoe suspended from a second-story balcony, she entertained a limited number of seated spectators in the courtyard of the Bourbon St. Pub complex.

Several hours before midnight, Sushi was lowered in the shoe from the complex's balcony to a platform over the courtyard's pool, in a symbolic welcome to 2021.

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While multiple New Year's Eve "drops" typically take place in Key West, including those of a super-sized conch shell and a pirate wench, they were canceled to avoid drawing large crowds to downtown Duval Street and waterfront areas.

The 23rd annual "drag queen shoe drop," which usually is staged on Duval before well over 1,000 spectators, was moved to the courtyard with reservation-only attendance strictly limited.

As well as New Year's Eve, the curfew mandated by Key West city officials also is effective Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, from 10 p.m. each night through 6 a.m. the next morning. The curfew does not apply to the remainder of the Florida Keys.

(©2021 CBS Local Media. 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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