June 22nd – Miss Brighton Beach at the Mermaid Parade

A little history of the Parade from Wikipedia

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade takes place every year by the sea in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City, usually in mid-to-late June. The Parade is a lively and welcoming ocean-themed event, which is open to all comers.

The tradition of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade began in 1983, when the first event of this kind was conceptualized and organized by Dick Zigun, who is sometimes dubbed the “Mayor of Coney Island”, and who was the founder of the non-profit arts group Coney Island USA.

The Mermaid Parade is held in celebration of the beginning of the summer season, and so it traditionally takes place on the Saturday closest to the calendar start of of summer, regardless of the weather.

The parade pays homage to the tradition of the Coney Island Mardi Gras parades of the very early 20th century, when Coney Island was at its zenith as the primary amusement destination for the great majority of the inhabitants of New York City. Similar in spirit to the annual Village Halloween Parade, the mermaid parade is the closest thing New York has to a Mardi Gras.

The Mermaid parade is well-known for extraordinary marine costumes, and for the occasional partial nudity. (This is not as surprising as it may sound, because it is legal in New York State for women to be topless in public, as long as this is not part of a business venture.) The parade is however very much a family event; it is quite common for at least one little girl’s birthday party to march as part of the parade. There are sections in the parade for vehicles of all kinds, for floats, for groups, and for individuals. Mermaids and sea creatures of every shape and size are represented, and the audience is festive and appreciative.

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~ by emagedphotography on Sunday, June 22, 2008.

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