PHILADELPHIA - Thousands of people are braving sub-freezing temperatures to celebrate 2009 Philadelphia-style.

They're watching the Mummers parade of comics, musicians and others dressed in elaborate costumes of satin, sequins and feathers.

True to promise, the Mummers appeared to be sticking to a tighter schedule Thursday, without the long delays between acts that drew complaints in the past.

The Mardi Gras-like festivities almost didn't happen this year after the cash-strapped city withdrew more than $400,000 in support.

It was saved through last-minute private fundraising and an agreement to shorten the hours-long pageant.

The event has about 15,000 people parading some four kilometres through the heart of the city in -5 C temperatures.

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