Mermaids, mermen and sea creatures of various types will splash out of the water to walk on dry land for the day as they kick off a shore summer sea-style by celebrating the Fifth Annual Asbury Park Promenade of Mermaids on Saturday, June 29.
PROMENADE OF MERMAIDS
Beginning in 2015, each year the annual Promenade of Mermaids grows in size and popularity and truly does get bigger and better. For the fifth year, founder of the promenade, Jenn Mehm, does not disappoint as the location has moved to provide merfolk a larger space with more to offer.
“The big news this year is that we’re moving to Bradley Park,” shared Mehm. “So the Promenade is still going to be on the Boardwalk, but instead of going from our registration area down to Convention Hall and back to our registration area, it’s going to start and end in Bradley Park.”
The location isn’t the only thing growing in size. “And the biggest change is that there’s going to be over 30 vendors selling mermaid art and jewelry and clothing and home decor,” said Mehm. “So that’s a big deal.”
In the past the Promenade of Mermaids had five or six vendors in the Asbury Park Yacht Club, but due to the size of the space it was impossible to have vendors of this caliber.
While Mehm initially started the Promenade of Mermaids in Sacramento, California, after moving back to New Jersey, she knew it was something the community here needed as well. Today, both promenades are at an all-time high.
According to Mehm, the Sacramento Promenade is now in its ninth year and has transformed into the Northern California Mermaid Convention, which lasts about four days with tons of activities such as a river clean up.
“We have four judges and our Grand Marshal is the Asbury Park Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn,” said Mehm. “And so she’s going to be picking the King and Queen … The four judges will then pick the other prizes, which include first, second and third-place awards for kids, kids couple or group, best adult costume, runner-up adult costume, adult couples or group and the tenth prize is a family prize.
While there are 10 prizes in total, Mehm always has a little something extra on hand. “We always have extra prizes for the kids so they don’t feel like they’re left out for their efforts,” she said.
This year’s special MerGuest will be Merrow Nikki from A Land And Sea Mermaid character parties. Back this year will be Sharqidance Belly Dancers and the Gypsy Funk Squad. The Asbury Hotel is also hosting a Mermaid Weekend to celebrate the Promenade of Mermaids for the second year in a row.
The Baronet at The Asbury Hotel, 210 5th Avenue, will be showcasing mermaid films all weekend long. On Saturday, June 29, the film will be ”Splash,” followed by “The Little Mermaid” on Sunday, June 30, and both films will begin at sundown. Also on Sunday, take part in the official Hangover Swim at The Pool from noon to 4 p.m. with sets by DJ Alex J. Bring your own fins.
MERMAIDS AND MORE
Kraken Rum has sponsored T-shirts for the promenade as well as some swag for the after-party at Asbury Park Yacht Club. In addition, Clean Ocean Action and Marine Mammal Stranding Center will both have information tables at Bradley Park.
“Don Dazzo is going to be our deejay and emcee again,” shared Mehm. “He’s been doing this since the beginning.”
According to Mehm, Asbury Park Yacht Club is going to serve a complimentary breakfast for people who are in costume prior to the promenade with mimosas and other things that can be available for purchase.
During the Promenade Mehm ensures they are giving back by helping a different organization each year, with past organizations including Rescue Ridge, Clean Ocean Action and more.
“We pick an organization each year to donate a portion of our proceeds to,” shared Mehm. “This year it’s going to be Catsbury Park and I talked to deejay about what he thought would be a good idea and so we’re asking people to bring a can of cat food with them and in exchange they’ll get a free sticker.”
Another new addition for this year is an event tote bag. “We have tote bags this year, which is something new and I’m hoping that they’re going to be a hit because with all the vendors, people will want something to carry their stuff around in,” she added. “And because Asbury Park has just banned plastic bags, none of our vendors or any of us will be using plastic bags and so people might want to get themselves an event tote bag.”
As always, Mehm looks forward to the unexpected for the Promenade of Mermaids as well as the costumes. “It’s always a lot of fun and I love surprises,” she said. “So we never know who’s going to show up and what kind of costumes are going to show up so the judges may have an extra prize or two under their tails, so there may be some extra prizes there for sea creatures or some other categories that we don’t have already planned for.
“But I think it’s going to be fun and moving over to Bradley Park is going to give us a lot more room for people to spread out.”
“The happiness the Promenade brings to all who attend is truly fantastic. It’s a day filled with smiles and sea creatures … It’s definitely a day for a permagrin, no scowls or tears,” she said. “Everybody’s just smiling and that’s what it’s all about. A day of happiness.”
While the annual Promenade of Mermaids may already be in its fifth year, it is simply the beginning for this event. “We had to go a little bit bigger for our fifth year, not sure when it’s going to be an actual parade on the street with floats, but it’s coming,” she said with a laugh. “Along with my army of mermaids to help me. Someday.”