10 Things to Know About the Mermaid Parade

Coney Island USA is hosting its 36th Annual Mermaid Parade on June 16 and we’re excited to be an o-fish-al sponsor! To celebrate, here are ten random and weird facts about the legendary day.

1. It was started in 1983

…by Coney Island USA, a non-profit arts organization whose mission is to defend the honor of American popular culture through innovative exhibitions and performances.

2. It’s the nation’s largest ART parade

…and it has “no ethnic, religious, or commercial aims. It’s a major New York holiday invented by artists!” – Coney Island USA

3. The Parade has three main 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.” – Coney Island USA

4. You don’t need a float to participate

In fact only 50 cars are allowed in the parade and they stay on Surf Avenue while the rest of the parade marchers continues to the boardwalk. Check out all the ways to join the page and register here!

4. There’s a King and Queen

Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie led the parade last year and this year it’s Amanda Palmer (singer, songwriter, playwright, piano-slayer, ukulele-enthusiast, blogger and former member of The Dresden Dolls) and Neil Gaiman (author of the New York Times bestseller Norse Mythology). Check out the full list of Parade Royalty since year one!

5. Coney Island has a long history of parades

…like the Coney Island Mardi Gras parade which ran from 1903 to 1954!

6. Costumes are highly encouraged… and so is bribing the judges.

Need some costume inspiration? Or some insider information on winning over the judges?

7. Chris T. has been the “Voice of the Mermaid Parade” since 1989

The parade MC also hosts Freewheelin on SiriusXM.

8. It’s a BIG day on Coney Island

Like almost-as-big-as-Fourth-of-July-big. Taking public transportation is highly encouraged, and don’t worry… you’ll see plenty of other Mermaids on the D, F, N or Q to Stillwell.

9. It’s a BIG day for Mermaid Pilsner

Last year fans purchased over 650 pints and 100 4-packs of our leading lady out of the brewery on parade day. That’s a lot of beer.

10. It’s the official opening of the ocean

Parade founder Dick D. Zigun hosts the Beach Ceremony at the end of the parade to mark the official opening of the ocean for the summer.


Other things to know!

  • Brewery opens at 10 AM.  Parade starts at 1 PM.
  • We’ll be partying around Manhattan and Brooklyn all May and June to get ready! Here’s where.
  • We’re giving away two spots on our float… yes, really… enter here!
  • Follow the Mermaid Parade on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.

#mermaidparade2018