DC celebrates 35th Annual 17th Street High Heel Race

With a light mist falling Tuesday evening, the crowds gathered in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Northwest D.C. for the the 35th annual High Heel Race.

The iconic race is held every year on 17th Street, and hosts thousands of bejeweled and bedazzled runners.

Each year on the Tuesday before Halloween, spectators line several blocks of the street to watch participants parade in flowing gowns, dresses, corsets and other elaborate costumes. After the parade, they cheer on runners that do a quarter-mile sprint in towering heels.

“This is a city-wide event … people look forward to it. They want to have fun, and we want people to know this about D.C. — we’re not just the government, we have fun,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser before the race began. “And I think that High Heel Race personifies that. [There’s] a lot of beautiful people out here who are interested in having a good time and celebrating our city.”

Among the best costumes, WTOP’s Dick Uliano saw “Him,” the red Santa Claws-esque villain from The Powerpuff Girls, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, a flock of Marilyn Monroes, and many more.

The race has a rich LGBTQ+ history with people of all ages coming out to celebrate their identity and show off their skills in costume design.

“It’s so much different from where I grew up in the South. Like being up here where everyone’s just kind of doing what they want to do. It’s so great. It’s freeing,” said Robbie Newell, a participant in the event.

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