Coney’s crowning achievement, the Annual Mermaid Parade returns for 33rd year

For one day a year since 1983, Coney Island has been packed with hundreds of thousands of attendees looking for a unique artistic party. This year will be no different. The 33rd Annual Mermaid Parade, an afternoon full of festivities, will be marching and honoring its yearly celebrities as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.

Founder of the parade and Coney Island USA Dick Zigun, expects more of the same excitement and zaniness for this year’s iteration, which takes place Saturday, June 20.

“We should have 10 large marching bands, 60 antique cars and all the usual weird wonderfulness as people dress up as mermaids and pirates. It’s great,” he said, mentioning that out of all the celebrations in the city, this one stands apart from the others. “It’s the largest art parade in the country. This is not a religious parade and it’s not commercial like Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s about New York City artists doing homemade floats creatively. It’s a very fun, wonderful day and it has become a huge event in Coney, like the Fourth of July.”

This year, England native Mat Fraser, star of the television show “American Horror Story: Freak Show” will be honored as King Neptune while New York native, burlesque dancer, actress and wife of Fraser, Julie Atlas Muz will be the Queen Mermaid.

“Both are homegrown and have been given a lot of attention. We’re proud to promote people who have succeeded, working with us for years,” he said.

The charm of the parade, which a whopping 800,000 people are expected to attend, is the unique participants and attendees.  “There will be plenty of homemade costumes and nuttiness, along with tens of thousands of photographers looking to take pictures,” said Zigun. “It’s a great day at the beach and a lot of people come to Coney one day per summer and that would be the day of the parade. It’s a pretty big event at this point.”

Even Zigun, known as the Mayor of Coney Island, doesn’t know what to expect until the day of the festivities. “A lot of the same people come back,” he said. “What they bring each year is a surprise I don’t see until it shows up.” About 3,000 people participate in the march.

The festivities begin at 1 p.m. at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue, and then roll east to West 10th Street. Cars and motorized floats continue down Surf Avenue passing West 10th Street and exit the parade. At the Boardwalk, the marchers and push-pull floats will turn west and head towards West 17th Street. The parade will conclude at Steeplechase Plaza at 5 p.m.

Those interested in participating in the parade can register at or on the day of the parade at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue at noon.


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