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    Posted June 21, 2014 by
    Coney Island, New York
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    Splish Splash—It’s Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Coney Island's Mermaid Parade is beachtar's favorite annual event. For him, it's like an unofficial start of summer. He describes it as a quintessential New York parade. 'Participants pull out all the stops to come up with the most outrageous, inventive, and wildly colorful costumes imaginable,' he said.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    You couldn’t tell Tom Hanks in Splash that there was no such thing as mermaids and you can’t tell me. I stood out there on Surf Avenue in Coney Island today as a school of mermaids (and mermen) glided by accompanied by a host of unidentifiable land and sea life. This was the 32nd annual Mermaid Parade, a Fellini movie with a Mardi Gras atmosphere.

    The Mermaid Parade takes place on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice and like Mardi Gras the parade features outrageous costumes, women topless except for paint or pasties, and the most festive atmosphere between here and the Big Easy.

    Thousands line Surf Avenue each year, but it would have been hard to picture New York’s last mayor, Michael Bloomberg, out here rocking the fins. However, the city’s current mayor, Bill De Blasio, not only showed up Saturday, but wore a puffy pirate shirt and brandished a fake sword. Organizers say he's the first mayor to come in costume. The mayor’s children also took a hand, with son Dante and daughter Chiara serving as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid, roles held in the past by such celebrities as Lou Reed, Harvey Keitel, and Queen Latifah.
    How popular is the parade? Last year the city originally refused to dedicate Sanitation Department manpower to the clean up due to cost overruns from Hurricane Sandy. Undeterred, event supports began a kickstarter page. In just the first two days, more than $34,000 was raised and the overall goal of $100,000 was reached with ease.
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