Mermaid Parade

Coney Island has a carnival reputation. At any time of the year you are going to find sword swallowers, sideshows and tattooed ladies. But there is one day in Summer that seems more outrageous than the rest, when thousands of locals come together for the Mermaid Parade to party in painted, shelled, bejeweled and sometimes brazenly bare, self constructed costumes. It has been a regular event for thirty years and could only really happen at Coney Island. When Sean and I joined the briny buzz before the parade started on Saturday, it felt one minute like the Easter show, and then next like Mardi Gras. But somewhere between the babies and the burlesque, there were a lot of people having a great time..

Sea creatures and their supporters gathered early in the day to secure a good vantage point, or to pay their $25 to enter the parade and join the pre-party of wrist banded entrants vying for the attention of the judges. There is a history of ( unofficial ) bribing that adds to the irreverence of the competition and to the overt advertising of the judges themselves. But in any case many contenders seemed more interested in photo opportunities than prizes. On the day, it is all about performance and being in character ( it is an ‘art’ parade after all! ). There were lobsters, bridal showers, muscle men, Neptunes, many mermaids and even an Elvis. Hordes of photographers, news reporters and cameramen were on hand to capture every scale and tendril. There were even some aspiring politicians looking for votes, although I can’t imagine what Mr Weiner would have worn. Maybe he didn’t get past Nathan’s Hot Dog stand…. But no-one was hiding in their shell on Saturday. The motto of Coney Island is ‘Defending the honor of American popular culture’ and whatever that is, when the Mermaid Parade is in town, you definitely don’t have to be under the boardwalk to be having some fun…

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8 Responses to Mermaid Parade

  1. stuhindl says:

    Looks like some good looking Mermaids and Mermans Gabrielle, it is freezing in Australia at present so no Mermaid parades here I might run one at Rainbow Beach inthe near future though along with a Shakespearian Festival I have been contemplating I can see some synergy what do you think..

  2. Great pics! Crazy festival! Not sure which is my favorite ~ brazenly bare or mermaid with fag in mouth. LOL. Not cold everywhere in Oz ~ gorgeous weather in Far North Queensland.

  3. Dallas Colley says:

    Absolutely Fabulous Darlings!

  4. Thank you for the pics of the fab people of the mermaid parade good luck to them all.

  5. Great pictures, Fitzy. That seems to be one crazy festival!!

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