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Mermaid Parade Steps Off On Coney Island

Parade Was Almost Canceled Due To Post-Sandy Debt

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The annual Mermaid Parade stepped off on Coney Island Saturday – after organizers saved the event from the threat of being canceled.

The 31st Annual Mermaid Parade kicked off at 1 p.m. Saturday at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue. Actor Judah Friedlander of “30 Rock” and “American Splendor” fame served as “King Neptune” for the parade, while former network news producer and “The Real House of New York City” star Carole Radziwill served as Queen Mermaid.

Organizers initially feared the parade would be canceled because they had too much debt after Superstorm Sandy, but an online fundraising effort saved the event.

PHOTOS: Coney Island’s 2013 Mermaid Parade

“We took a chance on a Kickstarter campaign and 2,500 people contributed $117,000,” organizer Dick Zigun told 1010 WINS. “Even after the fees come out we keep about 75 percent of that.”

Hard work by the city, the private sector and parade organizers ensured that the spectacular extravaganza would go on.

One woman told 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten she was “very concerned” the parade would be canceled.

And as to the fact that the parade was saved, another woman said, “Best news ever, best parade ever.”

The Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in the country and has been going strong since 1983. Participants told CBS 2′s Steve Langford that this year’s parade was particularly special because of Sandy.

“It’s especially special because of all the damage from Sandy, so to have all these people show up and spend money for the area is really important,” Renee Archibald said.

The event is meant to be a celebration of the sand, the sea, Coney Island pride, and artistic self-expression. The parade is followed by a Mermaid Parade Ball which features a burlesque show and a number of sideshow acts.

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