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Annual Mermaid Parade on Coney Island

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Storm-ravaged Coney Island is celebrating its survival with its annual, wacky and weird Mermaid Parade.

Hundreds of thousands of people to hit the famed Brooklyn boardwalk Saturday afternoon for the parade, which bills itself as the world's largest art parade and features outlandish floats, muscle cars, music and men and women in flamboyant and often-revealing costumes.

Many participants wore little more than fins and tails.

As they danced under the summer sun, a day to embrace their inner Freak for what's described as the world's most underdressed parade.

"This is the Mardi Gras of Brooklyn," said one scantily clad participant.

A 'swinging good time' celebration that almost wasn't, the 31st year of the Mermaid Parade was nearly canceled because of debt incurred by Hurricane Sandy. But organizers breathed life back into the festivities privately raising more than $100,000.

"It means more, it means community is coming back together -- we're still here."

It wasn't all fun and freaks at Coney Island on Saturday. The serious business of hurricane recovery is still well underway. Inside the Office of the Brooklyn Community Services, volunteers are gathering much needed supplies for people still in need after Sandy.

"There's still a major need of folks who've been affected by the storm to get service."

Lisa Jones says the group is serving more than 5,000 people, some with special needs and others with language barriers. On Saturday, the donations consisted of kitchen and bedroom supplies.

"They're getting a toaster, they're getting some sheets, they're getting some glasses, some pots and some people are still in hotels – who don't have anything still."

"Coney Island is not an amusement area -- it's a place where people live," said Jones.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz knows there is still work to do. He thinks the parade is a sign the boardwalk and its businesses are back. A foundation he believes will help stabilize the overall recovery.

"We celebrate Coney Island but the best days are yet to come," said Markowitz.

Anyone who would like to contribute or volunteer to the Brooklyn Community Services can visit their website.

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