The Mermaid Parade began in 1983 in Coney Island. The Parade is held as a celebration of the beginning of summer so it typically it is held on the Saturday closest to June 21st.
This year the parade was held on Saturday, June 18th. Although the weather was beautiful the parade is usually held rain or shine and pays respect to the Mardi Gras parades that were held in Coney Island in the early 1900’s. As many as a thousand participants show up yearly, and of course throngs of spectators.
The Parade is known for its partial nudity because it is legal in New York State for women to be topless in public, (except for business enterprise). Mermaids and sea creatures are all represented, in every possible artistic expression you can imagine.
As I drove through Brooklyn running my Saturday errands in various neighborhoods I spied many groups of mermaids and their male counterparts in full costume heading to the subway.
There is a Mermaid Parade King and Queen every year; usually local celebrities. This year the Mermaid Queen was Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model Hailey Clauson. The King was Carlo A. Scissura. Carlo is President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. There are costume contests as well, but mainly people come out to enjoy the beach, the parade, the music and the many burlesque and sideshow acts native to the Coney Island Beach area.
The Ocean-creature themed event is open to all and it is free it gets a little risqué so you may want to leave the kiddies at home. The parade starts at 2 pm and ends at around 5 pm which makes it a pretty fast parade, but there is a ball held afterward that begins at 7, so perhaps people run home to get ready!
You can see images from Saturday’s parade here .
I also “Googled” and found a ton of pictures. The image at the top is just a peek of what you may actually see at the parade!