The Mermaid Parade returning to Coney to end the summer

June 17, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
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It’s back! After skipping its traditional festivities last year, the annual Mermaid Parade is returning to Coney Island.

Although the event usually takes place in June, this year’s historic event will close out the summer season on Sunday, Sept.12.

“We were determined to produce a real parade this year, even if that meant staging the event outside its traditional June date,” said Dick Zigun, the founder of the Mermaid Parade as well as the founder and artistic director of Coney Island USA.

“September is safer, and there’s an old tradition here of ending the season with a bang. So it’s the last day of the season with Lifeguards: Sunday, Sept. 12,” said Zigun.

Last year, the 38th Annual Mermaid Parade was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Coney Island USA, which organizes the parade, hosted its first ever Mermaid Parade Tail-a-Thon.

It served as an online telethon and featured parade participants. Coney Island USA, which is dedicated to the cultural and economic revitalization of Coney Island, shared the donations with charities.

Then, last November, the organization took part in the reimagined (because of COVID-19) Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and received national attention. “The Mermaid Parade was thrilled to represent both Brooklyn as well as national weirdos and non-conformists and artists in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade,” Zigun said at the time.

According to Coney Island USA, the Mermaid Parade will celebrate ancient mythology. As always, it will include marching bands, drill teams, floats, antique cars, and participants dressed in handmade costumes as mermaids, sea creatures, amusement rides and Neptunes. 

The parade will start at 1 p.m. at West 21st and Surf Avenue and will proceed on Surf Avenue to West 10th Street. It will then head south to the Boardwalk, then go back west to its ending point at Steeplechase Plaza on the Boardwalk.

This year’s Queen Mermaid and King Neptune will be wheeled through the parade in an antique wicker boardwalk rolling chair.

Previous queens and kings have included Harvey Keitel, Curtis Sliwa, Queen Latifah, then-Borough President Marty Markowitz, satirist The Reverend Billy, musician-singer Moby, Lou Reed, civic leader Carlos Scissura, Arlo Guthrie and Deborah Harry of Blondie.

After the parade, Zigun is slated lead the procession through the Maimonides Park parking lot to the beach for the official beach ceremony and closing of the ocean for summer swimming season.

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