Lonely Planet Writer

Coney Island marks the start of the summer with a parade of mermaids and mermen

If you find yourself strolling along the world famous boardwalk in Coney Island and see thousands of mermaids, mermen and sea creatures coming towards you, don’t be alarmed, it’s just a parade to mark the start of the summer season.

People from all ages join to Mermaid Parade to celebrate coming of summer in New York
People from all ages join to Mermaid Parade to celebrate coming of summer in New York Image by Getty Images

The 34th annual Mermaid Parade will kickstart the summer season at the popular Brooklyn beach on June 18th. The parade attracts as many as 800,000 spectators every year and it’s founder Dick Zigun previously described it as a “huge free party”. Thousands of participants stroll through the streets in outlandish, eccentric and eye catching sequined sea creature costumes, and some of the mermaids may only be partially clothed.

Every year the parade features a Queen Mermaid and King Neptune, and this year Sports Illustrated covergirl Hailey Clauson and Carlo A. Scissura- the President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce- will be taking the honours.

#mermaidparade2015

A photo posted by The Mermaid Parade (@mermaidparade) on Jun 20, 2015 at 12:37pm PDT

Motorised floats, antique cars, marchers and drums will complete the carnival atmosphere to mark the start of the summer season which ends in a ceremony by the sea. It’s the largest parade of it’s kind in the States, according to the organisers, and it previously attracted other celebrity participants including Queen Latifah and Harvey Keitel. Mr Zigun, who is regularly hailed as the unofficial mayor of the seaside neighbourhood, founded the parade which had just over 300 participants in its first year.  This year it is estimated that as many as 3,000 individuals will participate, according to the organisers.