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The High-Heels Make a Run for It, Decked Out in Halloween Fabulous

Drag queens and queens for a day sport their best pumps for the Halloween High Heel Race, an annual tradition in Dupont Circle.Video by Rebecca Davis/washingtonpost.comProduced by Gaby Bruna/washingtonpost.com

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By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"If you're planning to dress as vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin . . . Please don't come toting a rifle," read the announcement placed in the LGBT newsmagazine Metro Weekly. "An Eskimo sidekick, however, is probably just fine."

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And so began the 23rd annual Halloween High Heel Race, held last night on 17th Street NW. The race -- for the benefit of newcomers unfamiliar with this venerable institution -- happens on the last Tuesday in October, when drag queens and queens for a day pull out their best size 12 pumps and hightail it down two blocks of the Dupont Circle neighborhood.

You had your moose-ear-wearin' Sarah, your Sarah 'n' McCain, your Sarah 'n' Todd, your Sarah 'n' Bristol's baby, all sporting tousled bouffants, all blowing kisses to a crowd that screamed and shivered and packed the streets. You had your Wasilla-consignment-shop Sarah ("The original," boasts costume-wearer Philip Gerlach), and you had your Neiman Marcus Sarah, with handwritten price tags dangling from the expensive-looking jade ensemble. Purse: $990; Suit: $2,390.

"Women's size 20, and I tailored it myself," says Neiman Marcus Sarah, a.k.a. Blaise Williams, who arrived with friends dressed as Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama. "The wig was actually originally a Farrah Fawcett, but I'm a hairdresser so that was no problem."

And the shoes -- those darling peep-toe pumps -- can Williams run in those shoes?

He looks down at his gigantic feet, flexes a muscular calf. "Oh yeah."

If you haven't spent a frigid evening watching a sparkly herd of men stampede as if on a life-or-death escape from a Bedazzler that already attacked them once, then, honey, you simply haven't lived.

"The secret is to wear cushioned soles," says Sally Field, a.k.a. Andy Wormser, traveling with Julia Roberts and Shirley MacLaine and a man who unrolls a swath of red carpet as the trio moves through the street before the race.


Theory: It is impossible to witness the drag race and not utter the word "Fabulous."

The Cher/Gwen Stefani/Princess Di-and-bodyguards? Fabulous. Judy Garland making eyes at Liza Minnelli? Creepy and fabulous.

Those nine middle-age guys dressed up as polygamist-sect members in matching pink gingham? Fundamentally Fabulous.

CONTINUED     1        >

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