WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – It may be one of the most peculiar Halloween traditions across the country, and yet, thousands of spectators can’t look away as they pack Dupont Circle annually to watch D.C.’s very unique High Heel Race.

Costumed onlookers dressed as Elizabeth Hasselback, Sherri Sheperd, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg of “The View” line up to witness the 26th Annual High Heel Race in Dupont. (Credit: WNEW reporter Cameron Thompson)

Each year onlookers fill the streets of Dupont Circle to watch grown men, dressed as grown women in high heels, as they race down historic 17th street between P Street and S Street.

Hundreds of drag queens participate in this mad dash through D.C. – some donning their finest formal garb; others dressed as female celebrities – all with two-inch heels clutching their masculine feet.

The race is only the culmination of hours of festivities, which include a parade and a lot of show-and-tell from participants and their decadent outfits in front of an audience of thousands.

Impersonators of Sophia and Rosie from The Ellen Show. (Credit: WNEW reporter Cameron Thompson)

This year’s event – which usually takes place the last Tuesday before Halloween but was postponed because of Hurricane Sandy – marked the 26th anniversary of the race that debuted in 1986.

As legend has it, the contest began when a group of drag queens gathered in Dupont Circle, and just decided to run two blocks from J.R.’s Bar & Grill to Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse, consume a shot of liquor, and then run back.

And the merry tradition has continued ever since, gaining in popularity every year thereafter.

In 2011, Mayor Vincent Gray and Councilmember Jack Evans even presided over the ceremony as the event’s official Grand Marshals.

This year’s winner was Inertia, 26, decked out in 4-inch stiletto boots, a strawberry Afro, black necklace and a cheetah print dress as she crossed the finish line. She ran track at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and says she never doubted victory.

Fitting that the winner was born the same year the event began.

Follow WNEW reporter Cameron Thompson on Twitter who covered the 26th Annual High Heel Race and contributed to this report.