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About The Mermaid Parade:
The Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in the nation. A celebration of ancient mythology and honky-tonk rituals of the seaside, it showcases over 1,500 creative individuals from all over the five boroughs and beyond, opening the summer with incredible art, entrepreneurial spirit and community pride. The parade highlights Coney Island Pageantry based on a century of many Coney parades, celebrates the artistic vision of the masses, and ensures that the summer season is a success by bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the amusement area in a single day.
The MERMAID PARADE specifically was founded in 1983 with 3 goals: it brings mythology to life for local residents who live on streets named Mermaid and Neptune ; it creates self-esteem in a district that is often disregarded as “entertainment”; and it lets artistic New Yorkers find self-expression in public.
Unlike most parades, this one has no ethnic, religious, or commercial aims. It’s a major New York holiday invented by artists! An American version of the summer-solstice celebration, it takes pride of place with West African Water Festivals and Ancient Greek and Roman street theater. It’s features participants dressed in hand-made costumes based on themes and categories set by us. This creates an artistic framework on which artists can improvise, resulting in the flourishing of frivolity, dedication, pride, and personal vision that has become how New York celebrates summer.
The 2014 parade will still highlight our ability to mix high and low culture on the beach, as we partner with several Bensonhurst-based muscle car clubs, the Hungry March Band, and our celebrity King and Queen (not yet identified, but past royalty have included Laurie Anderson, Moby, Jackie “the Joke Man”, and others). It will include floats by participants as well as our sponsors and community partners (including the New York Aquarium, Deno’s Wonder Wheel, and Luna Park).
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.