Road to the Mermaid Parade: Making Of A Mermaid

One of our favorite parts of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade is checking out all the amazing costumes and floats that come to life along Surf Ave. The hard work, creativity and dedication speaks to the reason the parade began in the first place and why it’s become such an iconic yearly event in New York City.

The truth is, there are so many ways to make a Mermaid, and that’s the beauty of it all.  We spoke with Kat Clear, the artist behind the float we’re creating for this year’s celebration as well as our Senior Mermaid Jess Puleio who will share advice on some simple things you can do to transform into a Mermaid for a day!

THE STYLE

What are the 3 most important tips to becoming a Mermaid? Here’s what our Senior Mermaid, Jess had to say…

  1. CONFIDENCE.  It’s key to the making of a mermaid. Every single Mermaid (or Merman) is so very different and that’s what’s so exciting…but make sure you own it!
  2. THE DETAILS.  Whether you go big or small, it’s the little things that make a Mermaid shine. Glitter, fun jewelry, sequins, netting. Don’t underestimate the power of creativity.
  3. MAKEUP. Yes, you too, fellas. So you don’t have scales in real life. No problem! Mermaid makeup is not only easy, it’s fun! There’s a ton of inspiration that can be found on Pinterest and again, there are endless colors and ways to make your skin more sea creature, less human.

        So if you’ve never dressed up as Mermaid before, where should you start? 

Think back and ask yourself, what was one of your favorite costumes as a kid? An accessory you should have thrown out years ago, but can’t seem to get  yourself to part with? These are the things to keep in mind! The parade is about art and freedom of expression and this is your chance to have some fun and relive the magic that you might have thought was lost. Anything goes and remember a Mermaid has a lot of friends (pirates, sea creatures, turtles, dolphins… ).

 

THE FLOAT

This year we set out to make our float bigger and better than ever and artist and designer Kat Clear was thrilled to partner with us on our vision of bringing the Mermaid Pilsner to life on our favorite day of the year. But magic doesn’t always happen overnight especially since this is no small feat.

When she’s complete our Mermaid will stand at 10 feet tall and 17 feet long! Lucky for us, Kat is a Mermaid at heart. She grew up loving the ocean whether swimming, clamming, kayaking or body surfing and her passion and connection to this project has us excited to see what she builds. We checked in with her recently to get a sneak peek about the making of this mystical beauty.

So what exactly will our Mermaid be made of?

KAT:  She will be made of lightweight, but durable material including plywood and foam. Sounds boring, huh? Well wait until you add the paint, petal paper, pearls, tattoos and 30 foot tendrils of hair! [Did we tell you we were excited!?] The décor is always the most satisfying and kind of like building a huge layer cake. It’s good to stir the batter, bake the cake and cut off the edges, but the icing is really what drives it home!


You make it sound easy and FUN, but we all know this is months of hard work. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?

KAT:  There are challenges with every project I do and for this one it’s the modular aspect. The Mermaid has two journeys to make before her final destination down Surf Ave. I live in Vermont and the float will have to make its way to New Jersey where I will put the finishing touches on and put her back together and make her strong enough to stand 10ft tall and go 65 MPH down the highway to Coney Island!

Can you share a teaser with us of the Mermaid so far?


Support the Mermaid!

In an effort to help keep the Mermaid Parade alive, we’ve set up a special Coney Island Brewery donation page on the Coney USA fundraising site. We’ve agreed to match any donation between now and June 16th dollar for dollar, up to $5,000. If your interested in donating, you can do so HERE!