BY ANNA SPIVAK & JAIME DEJESUS
Surf Avenue was swimming with mermaids on Saturday, June 20 as Coney Island kicked off its 33rd Annual Mermaid Parade.
With 10 large marching bands, tons of antique cars, and creative home-made floats, the nearly 800,000 attendees at the parade each year would call it more than a “little” mermaid parade.
“It’s the largest art parade in the country,” Dick Zigun, founder of the parade and Coney Island USA told this paper. “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.”
This year, the parade started at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue, made its way to West 10th Street, turned south toward the Boardwalk, turned west toward West 17th Street, and culminated at Steeplechase Pier.
“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,” added Zigun. “It’s a pretty big event at this point.”
Additionally, the coveted positions of King Neptune and Queen Mermaid were given to “American Horror Story: Freak Show” star Mat Fraser and his wife, Julie Atlas Muz, actress and well-known New York City burlesque dancer.
Even though the parade has been a Brooklyn staple since 1983, Zigun maintains that he is still surprised by the day’s festivities each year.
“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.”
BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Sean Sirota