By Kelly Williams
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The 28th annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade will take place this Saturday with celebrity attendees, plenty of bizarre outfits and scantily-clad participants.
There are expected to be about 3,000 marchers making their way down the Boardwalk with push-pull floats as they make their way West to Stillwell Ave. where the parade will disband around 5:30 pm.
Conceived by Coney Island USA in 1983, the kick off to many of New York City’s summer events has become a beloved tradition in New York City. The not-for-profit arts organization organized the parade as homage to the eccentric and playful Coney Island Mardi Gras which lasted from 1903 to 1954.
Parade goers usually showcase hand-made mermaid and merman costumes but parade organizers note “various sea creatures, the occasional wandering lighthouse, Coney Island post cards and amusement rides, as well as antique cars, marching bands, drill teams, and the odd yacht pulled on flatbed” tend to make appearances.
This year’s King Neptune, Brooklyn native Adam Richman from the Travel Channel’s “Man Vs. Food” and Queen Mermaid, Cat Greenleaf from the New York Emmy Award winning television show, “Talk Stoop with Cat Greenleaf” will rule over the proceedings riding in the parade and assisting in the opening of the ocean for the summer, cutting through ribbons representing the seasons, and tossing fruit into the Atlantic to appease the sea gods.
For the first time this year the parade winners will be announced at the Mermaid Parade Ball, a post-parade gathering at the New York Aquarium’s Oceanic Deck and Aqua Theater, where costumed parade participants and parade spectators gather for live music, sideshow acts and more.
“The ball is an event in it of itself,” said executive artistic director Dick D. Zigun.
“What better place for a party after a mermaid parade than the New York Aquarium? For the first time this year they’re letting us use the Sea Lion Amphitheater and we will have mermaids swimming in there, live music, as well as the awards ceremony.”
Info on the ball and ticket info can be found by clicking here.
Coming from the boroughs take the D, F, N or Q trains to Stillwell Avenue.
If you’re driving in, prep for some serious traffic. The New York Aquarium and MCU Park will have parking lots and private lots can be found between Surf and Neptune Avenues and West 8th Streets and West 17th Streets.
More information on this year’s parade can be found on the official Web site.
The event kicks off at 2 pm rain or shine on West 21st and the Surf Avenue and will roll east to West 10th Street.