The Mermaid Parade - WMODA | Wiener Museum

The Mermaid Parade

The Mermaid Parade will march down Surf Avenue in Coney Island on June 22 marking the beginning of summer for residents of this seaside community. It’s as if our Sirens of the Sea exhibit in Fantastique has come to life!

The Mermaid Parade started in 1983 and is cited as the largest art parade in the US. The promoters draw inspiration from Greek and Roman pagan revelries and the honky-tonk rituals of the seaside. Over 3,000 people participate in a dazzling array of nautical-themed costumes. A King Neptune and Queen Mermaid are crowned as part of the festivities and they start the festivities by throwing fruit into the ocean as an offering to the gods of summer. This year’s King Neptune is singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie and his sister Nora is Queen Mermaid.

This American version of the summer-solstice celebration brings mythology to life for local residents who live on streets named Mermaid and Neptune. Hand-made costumes are also derived from traditional African water festivals. Coincidently, there is a Mermaid Festival on the same weekend in North Webster, IN (the hometown of our webmaster).

Fantasy figures inspired by the ocean are a feature of the Ardmore collection from South Africa on display at WMODA. Visitors to our Fantastique exhibit can also enjoy many portrayals of King Neptune, the Roman God of the Sea, and his attendant sea nymphs and mermaids. Florida year-round residents can start the summer at WMODA and experience the enchanted world of ceramic art in air-conditioned galleries.