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Colorfully costumed Mummers strut their stuff at annual New Year's Day parade in Philadelphia

Outrageously costumed and painted comic brigades and string bands have marched in Philadelphia in a Mardi Gras-like New Year's Day parade believed to be the nation's oldest folk festival.

Thousands of people lined the route for the century-old Mummers Parade along Broad Street, the city's main north-south thoroughfare. Colorful participants danced wildly and toted parasols while strutting their stuff.

The string bands wowed with huge floats while men in dresses formed the so-called wench brigades. The fancy brigades featured elaborate sets and dance routines.

Mummers clubs say they prepare all year for their big day.