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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 August 2007, 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK
Cavalcade starts festival season
Festival cavalcade
The Circus of Horrors were among those taking part in the parade
More than 3,000 people have taken part in a parade through Edinburgh to mark the official launch of the city's festival season.

The annual cavalcade in the Scottish capital featured acts from across the world, including the entire cast of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

About 50,000 people braved the rain to watch the opening extravaganza.

Sunday's event signalled the start of the Fringe, which will see more than 2,000 shows take place in 250 venues.

More than 18,500 performers are expected to take the stage during the festival, which runs until 27 August.

Those taking part will be able to compete for 21 different awards, six more than were up for grabs last year.

Performers

The big comedy names taking part this year include Frank Skinner, Paul Merton and Ricky Gervais.

There will be three different productions about Tony Blair, including two musicals about the former prime minister.

August will also see the staging of book, film, television and politics events, in addition to the Edinburgh International Festival.

The military tattoo is already under way, having started its sold-out run on Friday night.

Organisers had expected a crowd of more than 175,000 for the cavalcade, but said only 50,000 people turned out because of the bad weather.

Director David Todd said: "It went very well and we got an incredible audience in spite of the weather.

"It was really quite a good turnout considering the rain, but that didn't deter people.

"We are so grateful to the performers for turning up because it really was unpleasant but they just marched on."


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