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Kick Off the Summer at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in New York

Published by Lisa Simonelli Rennie

Country: United States

The Experience

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is a totally unique and original event held in the US, and is one of the most anticipated events of the summer in New York. Out of the many things to do at Coney Island, the Mermaid Parade is definitely one you don't want to miss. This Mermaid Parade is celebrated as the beginning of summer, and as such, this amazing and colorful event is generally held on the weekend closest to the start of the summer season.

This annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade features Mermaids, Neptunes, and other colourful sea creatures that conceptualize creative self-expression and artistic ideologies. This individual self-expression and creativity is sparked through the many different hand-made costumes adorning all who participate in this fun and enjoyable event unique to Coney Island in New York.

Originally held in 1983, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade was developed as an extension of Mardis Gras, which was held in Coney Island until 1954. Just as wacky and eccentric as the historic Coney Island Mardis Gras, the Mermaid Parade has been embraced by locals and tourists alike, who look forward to this annual ocean-themed event.

Coney Island is celebrated in the Mermaid Parade as a place of colourful history and mythology, which is paid homage to with the mystical aura and presence of merfolk and the like. In addition to these colourful sea characters, the Mermaid Parade also incorporates a variety of other historical and nostalgic aspects, such as amusement rides, marching bands and even antique vehicles.

This Mermaid Parade has become so well-loved and has grown in popularity over the years. As such, the number of participants and visitors to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade has been increasing every year, as many consider Coney Island to be one of the best travel destination spots in early summer. In fact, at least 2 thousand people are said to participate in this event, along with hundreds of thousands more who visit Coney Island as spectators to this colourful parade.

Any visitors booking flights to New York City for this parade should do so early enough in anticipation of the flood of tourists traveling to Coney Island for this annual event.

Although some participants are known to display a bit of nudity with their revealing costumes, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade remains very much a family friendly event. Many little girls have been known to celebrate their birthdays as part of the march in the parade. All sorts of beautiful floats, vehicles and groups are part of the parade, creating a festive environment that is unmatched. Every size, shape and age is represented in this parade, making it an event to be enjoyed by all.

Summer is a highly anticipated season of the year for many - participating in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade is the perfect way to kick off the warm summer months!

When to Go to Coney Island Mermaid Parade

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade happens once a year, so you need to ensure that you are there and ready with your glorious and sparkling Mermaid or other sea-creature costume by the first Saturday closest to the start of summer. Booking a room in one of the many hotels in New York City should be done as early as possible in order to ensure availability for your stay.

Of course, in addition to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, there are plenty of other things to do at Coney Island during your stay, like take a stroll along the boardwalk, or hang out on Brooklyn's best beach. There are plenty of amazing restaurants to eat at, as well as a plethora of side events that occur all over the island. The nightlife in Coney Island, along with the rest of New York City, is sure to keep you jumping and entertained during your entire stay!

Odds n' Ends

Considering the time of year that the Coney Island Mermaid Parade takes place, taking advantage of the summer heat can be taken further by spending some time on the nearly three-mile stretch of shorelines at Coney Island Beach. Just about any New York City travel guide will point you to this famous shoreline for a day of sun and fun. Make sure that you get there early enough in order to avoid the potential crowds that tend to gather as the day progresses.

Not only are the beaches beautiful, but the boardwalk adjacent to the sea and sand can also provide some sights for the Coney Island visitor. You can participate in some boardwalk entertainment, such as carnival rides, concession stands, games and street shows. Get yourself a souvenir to take home with you, or grab one the famous hot dogs or funnel cakes that tourists and locals equally enjoy.

Visit the oldest bar and grill on the Coney Island Boardwalk, Ruby's, for some good old fashioned grub to satisfy your cravings. This place is a colourful extension of of the eccentric aura surrounding the Mermaid Parade, which houses some of the most fun and light-hearted spirits of Coney Island. Many hotels in New York City will have all the info you need to plan the perfect stay in Coney Island.

As a visitor to Coney Island, take as much in as you can, including the New York Aquarium, Coney Island Museum, and even the Coney Island Circus Sideshow!

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