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PHOTOS: 36th Annual Mermaid Parade dazzles crowds in Coney Island

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NEW YORK — Throngs of people dressed as mermaids, fish and other aquatic creatures packed New York's Coney Island on Saturday for a sun-soaked edition of the zany Mermaid Parade.

Crowds cheered as Neil Gaiman, the author of fantasy works such as "American Gods," and his wife Amanda Palmer, a musician with the Dresden Dolls duo, led the parade dressed as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.

The couple and their 2-year-old son were wheeled along the beachfront route in a wicker chair, taking in the colorful scenery that included everyone from a princess mermaid to a pirate zombie.

"We absolutely love mermaids and mythology and everything and this is like the most fun," said parade-goer Carley Boltz. "We just get to go once a year and just dress up and have a blast."

Cindy Lopez's princess mermaid mashup was complete with a tail that she planned to take for a dip in the ocean. Sean Marz wore sequins, an algae crown and sea shells covering his skivvies.

"There's a lot of shimmering objects pasted to my body," he said.

The Mermaid Parade was founded in 1983 to bring mythology to life and give New Yorkers a chance to express themselves in public.

It draws hundreds of thousands of revelers to the beach each year.

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