The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is a parade, created and produced by the non-profit arts organization Coney Island USA, that celebrates the beginning of the summer season (late June) in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The 2018 parade (36th Annual) will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2018, at 1 pm.
The Mermaid Parade is held in celebration of the beginning of the summer season, and so it traditionally takes place on the Saturday closest to the calendar start of summer, June 21, regardless of the weather. The tradition began in 1983, when the first event of this kind was conceptualized and organized by Dick Zigun, who is sometimes dubbed the "Mayor of Coney Island", and who was the founder of the non-profit arts organization Coney Island USA. The last ten parades (up to 2017) were held on June 21, 2008; June 20, 2009; June 19, 2010; June 18, 2011; June 23, 2012; June 22, 2013; June 21, 2014; June 20, 2015; June 18, 2016; and June 17, 2017.
The parade of June 22, 2013 was almost canceled due to resources being consumed by the recovery from Hurricane Sandy; it was rescued from a shortfall of funding by launching a successful Kickstarter $100,000 campaign raising over $117,000.
The parade pays homage to the Coney Island Mardi Gras parades of the early 20th century. During this era, Coney Island was the primary amusement park destination for those in the New York area. Like the annual Village Halloween Parade, the Mermaid Parade evokes the artistic spirit of Mardi Gras.
The event often attracts a several thousand actual participants, along with hundreds of thousands of spectators, some of whom have traveled to Coney Island's beach primarily to escape the heat which often marks the beginning of summer. The mermaid parade is the largest art parade in the United States.
The Mermaid parade is known for marine costumes, occasional partial nudity, as well as more family oriented fare. There are sections in the parade for vehicles of all kinds, for floats, for groups, and for individuals. Mermaids and sea creatures of every shape and size are represented.
Each year the Mermaid Parade features a King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.
|Annual||Year||King Neptune||Queen Mermaid|
|1st||1983||Al Mottola||Alison Gordy|
|2nd||1984||Joe Franklin||Jeanne Becker|
|3rd||1985||Dan Lurie||Sandra Frankel|
|5th||1987||Henry Stern||Barbara Walz|
|6th||1988||Michael Wilson[disambiguation needed]||Phoebe Legere|
|7th||1989||David Smalls||Elana Iguana|
|8th||1990||Mr. Fashion||Wendy Wild|
|9th||1991||El Vez||Lynda Barry|
|10th||1992||Richard Eagan||Daisy Eagan|
|12th||1994||Jose Gutierrez||Rosemary Di Pietra|
|13th||1995||Spyro Poulos||Shut-Up Shelly|
|14th||1996||Fred Kahl||Kiva Kahl|
|15th||1997||Ron Kuby||Jennifer Miller|
|16th||1998||David Byrne||The World Famous *BOB*|
|17th||1999||Curtis Sliwa||Queen Latifah|
|18th||2000||Rabbi Abraham Abraham||Katya Kahl|
|19th||2001||Hector Camacho Jr.||Kembra Pfahler|
|20th||2002||Marty Markowitz||Toni Senecal|
|21st||2003||Bill Evans||Kate Duyn|
|23rd||2005||David Johansen||Karmen Guy|
|24th||2006||Abel Ferrara||Bambi the Mermaid|
|25th||2007||Adam Savage||Patti D'Arbanville|
|26th||2008||Reverend Billy Talen||Savitri Durkee|
|27th||2009||Harvey Keitel||Daphne Kastner|
|28th||2010||Lou Reed||Laurie Anderson|
|29th||2011||Adam Richman||Cat Greenleaf|
|30th||2012||Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling||Annabella Sciorra|
|31st||2013||Judah Friedlander||Carole Radziwill|
|32nd||2014||Dante de Blasio||Chiara de Blasio|
|33rd||2015||Mat Fraser||Julie Atlas Muz|
|34th||2016||Carlo A. Scissura||Hailey Clauson|
|35th||2017||Chris Stein||Deborah Harry|
|36th||2018||Neil Gaiman||Amanda Palmer|
The organizers of the parade claim to encourage bribery, so that participants have a better chance to win the various costume contests, which are also part of the day's entertainment. The Coney Island Mermaid Parade inspired the Zeemeerminnenparade in The Hague, the Netherlands to organize a similar annual Mermaid Parade starting in 2010.
Unofficial Mayor of Coney Island