This year Coney Island celebrated it's 30 year anniversary of the Mermaid parade. If you are unfamiliar with the New York's famous art parade, let me give you some background. The Mermaid Parade, founded in 1983, pays homage to the forgotten Mari Gras of Coney Island- which lasted from 1903-1954. It's honestly the perfect way to celebrate the start of the summer season, with the sand between your toes, the sweet salty air & mermaids waltzing down the boardwalk.
To start the day I woke up early for a Saturday to ensure parking when I reached my destination in Coney Island. Leaving Philly at around 6:30 I arrived in Brooklyn around 8:30, with barricades for the parade already being set up for the 2:00 start time.
(Just a sidenote: If you are coming from out of town be sure to get there early, there will seriously be NO parking if you try and come into town after 9AM!).
Getting there early was definitely a smart thing and gave me time to relax and meet up with a few friends I have in the area. We headed down to Surf Ave. at around 11ish and people were already beginning to line the streets hoping to get the best seat in the house for the parade with the occasional passing of a glittery mermaid.
As the parade start time approached the crowds came, it was literally a sea of blue, green mermaids, mermen, pirates, men dressed like mermaids even a few burly sailors…you name it, someone was probably dressed like it. Being it was so hot out we decided to set up in the Coney Island Freak Bar to have a few drinks before the parade started. There we chatted, browsed through Coney Island Gift shop & museum(I'm sure you all remember the museum from the last Sourpuss Catalog shoot) and watched the crowds grow outside & inside.
At 2:00 we perched ourselves up on the boardwalk to watch the lavish, quirky & some just out right ridiculous costumes go by. It is definitely a sight that everyone needs to experience at least once, if not every year, of their life!
Words can only explain so much, so be sure to bring a camera. Another sidenote if you're looking for some great pics, head to the end of the parade route. There you can get one on one pictures of all of your favorites, it's not very crowded and you get to see some of these amazing costumes up close.
The parade started coming to a close around 4, but the party doesn't end there. Every year there is an after party down the street at the NYC aquarium. Unfortunately, even though I had tickets in hand, I had to head back home for the evening.
Even though I did not make the Ball this year it was an amazing time & highly recommended for everyone to make plans for this event next year. No date for 2013 yet, but it is normally held around this time every year. You can always check out www.coneyisland.com for more info too.