Key West, Florida (CNN) — It started in 1996 as a crazy idea to ring in the new year, but police nearly shut it down.
“They said, ‘We have an idea: Let’s do a shoe drop. … We made this shoe for you,'” recalled Gary “Sushi” Marion, the star of a weekly drag queen review in Key West. “‘You’ve got to sit in it for New Year’s Eve,’ and I said ‘OK,’ and that is how it started.”
So, on New Year’s Eve, Marion took center stage inside a massive high-heeled red shoe made out of chicken wire, paper mache and plywood, dangling off the roof of the Bourbon Street Pub along Key West’s main street.
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