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Bold and Beautiful Take Coney Island in Mermaid Parade

By Jess Wisloski | June 23, 2012 2:57pm
Participants swept across Surf Avenue in Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade on June 23, 2012.
Participants swept across Surf Avenue in Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade on June 23, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Joseph Tabacca

CONEY ISLAND — Thousands basked in the gorgeous weather to watch and participate in the 30th annual Mermaid Parade in Brooklyn.

Parade organizers, who hoped even more than the half-million spectators that came out last year would attend, said 4,500 marchers had registered for this year's parade, according to NY1. The festival comes just one day before the city's Gay Pride parade.

The parade, which started at 2:30 p.m., slowly migrated down eight blocks of Surf Avenue, and ended at the seaside on the Boardwalk in Coney Island. An antique FDNY fire truck started the procession this year, and several new floats, including giant inflated goldfish were unveiled.

Registrants began showing up at 11:00 a.m. for the right to strut their stuff, and made up the melee of marchers that swarmed the streets. According to NY1, several costumes shared Mayan themes, playing off on the predicted end of the world, which one calender predicted to be December 21, 2012.

Every year the festival, which parade organizer Bob Rutan called "the largest parade of exhibitionists" on NY1, draws fantastical costumes and mostly undersea-themed floats to the main drag in Coney Island.

"It's a lot of people coming out to have a lot of fun, and show off what they want to show off," Rutan said.

In the past, weddings have even taken place at the colorful and flamboyant festival, and this year, which is the first parade after New York State made gay marriage legal, was no exception for Windi and Starla Murazka, who were married an hour before the parade began on the beach at Coney Island.

The Gay Pride parade, which takes place Sunday, starts at Fifth Avenue and East 38th Street at 12 noon. The parade moves south on Fifth Avenue towards 8th Street before heading west to Christopher Street and the Hudson River.  For a list of events, see DNAinfo.com New York's Weekend Guide to NYC Pride.