Mermaid Parade 2011

Sat, Jun 18, 2011, 2:00 pm - 11:59 pm

The Mermaid Parade on the Coney Island boardwalk.

Free admission (all visitors, all hours)

Founded in 1983, the Mermaid Parade pays homage to Coney Island’s forgotten Mardi Gras, which lasted from 1903 to 1954, and draws from a host of other sources resulting in a wacky event that is unique to Coney Island.

The Mermaid Parade celebrates the sand, the sea, the salt air and the beginning of summer, as well as the history and mythology of Coney Island, Coney Island pride and artistic self-expression. The parade is characterized by participants dressed in hand-made costumes as Mermaids, Neptunes, various sea creatures, the occasional wandering lighthouse, Coney Island post card or amusement ride. Also in the procession are antique cars, marching bands, drill teams and the odd yacht pulled on flatbed.

Each year, a different celebrity King Neptune and Queen Mermaid rule over the proceedings, riding in the parade and assisting in the opening of the ocean for the summer swimming season by marching down the beach from the boardwalk, cutting through ribbons representing the seasons and tossing fruit into the Atlantic to appease the Sea Gods. In the past, David Byrne, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Queen Latifah, Ron Kuby, Curtis Sliwa, Moby, David Johansen and Harvey Keitel have graced the parade, presiding over the assembled masses.

The parade is followed by the Mermaid Parade Ball, where costumed parade participants can get together with each other and parade spectators to hear live music, enjoy cocktails and watch performances by burlesque and sideshow acts.

The Parade Route:
The parade will start on West 21st and the Surf Avenue. It will roll east, past the judges’ booth at West 12th Street, to West 10th, where the cars and motorized floats will park. The marchers and push-pull floats will go to the boardwalk and march West to Stillwell Avenue where the parade will disband. Click here for a map of the parade route.

Coney Island USA

1208 Surf Avenue

(at West 12th Street)

Brooklyn, NY 11224

(718) 372-5159

Visit website


Subway: D, Q, N, or F trains to Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue