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Uploaded on Jan 1, 2012
KEY WEST, Florida Keys -- Thousands of celebrants in balmy Key West welcomed 2012 with the "drop" of a renowned female impersonator perched in a super-sized red high heel. The annual "drag queen drop" was an offbeat warm-weather take-off on the traditional New Year's Eve "ball drop" in New York's Times Square. Lavishly gowned drag queen Sushi ruled festivities at the Bourbon Street Pub complex -- seated in a ruby slipper suspended high above spectators on the island city's famed Duval Street. Seconds before midnight, the red heel carrying Sushi was lowered from the complex's balcony toward the crowd below. At the stroke of midnight, she popped the cork on a ceremonial bottle of champagne to welcome 2012. The "drag queen drop" wasn't the only unique New Year's Eve celebration in Key West. On lower Duval Street, crowds watched the descent of a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, to the flat roof of Sloppy Joe's 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. Elsewhere in the Florida Keys, multiple fireworks displays celebrated 2012's arrival.