Yes, every year, for the past 37, around the first day of summer, mermaids, mermen, mer-nonbinary participants descend upon Coney Island, New York. The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is a spectacle all its own.
Here’s some Mermaid Parade history…
- Coney Island resident and arts advocate Dick Zigun dreamt it up in 1983 to make a name for the neighborhood’s arts scene. So he invited artists to create handmade nautical-themed costumes and it eventually began to attract a global following.
- The best-dressed compete in a beach pageant that follows the parade.
But Zigun says,
“A beautiful mermaid doesn’t get you anything in the Mermaid Parade.”
- A queen mermaid and king Neptune are crowned each year, too.
- Last year’s parade had more than 825,000 people coming to watch.
- Around 3,000 participants registered this year.
- There were 12 marching bands, 30 antique cars, a slew of dance groups and even an act called the “Wu Tang Clam.”
This year Pride merged with Mermaids and the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corp Marching Band started the parade off.
WOW’s intrepid man in the street, the hardest working photographer on the beat, Ruben Natal-San Miguel captured some truly incredible portraits this year. He doesn’t just snap them mid-parade with any background, he takes then to a special location to showcase their look as you can see here.
(Photographs, Ruben Natal-San Miguel; via CNN)