Check out the magical marine finery at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Each June, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade—proclaimed as the “largest art parade in the U.S.”—carries on through the streets of this seaside town on the outskirts of NYC, gathering thousands of mermaids for a stroll around town while dressed in their best mermaid finery.

Mermaids of all gender identities are welcome at the Mermaid Parade, and participants may choose to express their mermaidness however they like. Mermaid tails are encouraged of course, but not necessary. Those participants who identify as female often leave their torsos bare to greet the ocean air, or perhaps they will adorn themselves with a charming seashell bikini top, which is always an elegant choice.

The parade is just for fun, dating back to the 1980’s when it was created as a celebration of the Coney Island spirit. As the parade’s fame has grown over the decades, it now draws participants from around the country, and it inspired the famous and beloved children’s story book, Julian Is A Mermaid.

The 2020 Coney Island Mermaid Parade has been postponed, due to the issues of that darned virus, and there’s no tentative reschedule date (they have an online event planned in its place). Wish you could be part of their world? Photographer Maurice Schair has been chronicling images from the Mermaid Parade for years, and in celebration of Mermaid Parades gone by, he shared some of his favorite images of past parades, in this gallery.