So last summer was large-scale mermaid gathering Mer-Con in Vegas, and this summer is MER-PALOOZA, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday, August 11th and 12th, at the Wyndham Orlando Resort and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida, and is touted to be the biggest mermaid gathering ever on this earth (barring what happens in the deepest ocean, obviously). There will be all kinds of awesome featured guests/performers, like Traci Hines, Alexanderia the Great, Mrs Weeki Wachee/International Mermaid Queen Kylee Trochee, mermaid artiste Tammy Derwick, and Sasha the Fire Gypsy, who’s the only one I haven’t already interviewed on this blog but who will appear in Mermaids magazine and has an incredibly popular youtube video on how to make your own mermaid tail… Plus, Eric Ducharme will also be there with his gorgeous tails, along with (of course) about 500000 mermaids, not to mention plenty of vendors and experts who can transform you into a mermaid (or merman) if you ain’t one already.
Below I have some lovely quotes from Traci, Alex, and Sasha about what you can expect from them this weekend. And then photographer and my fellow Weeki Wachee mermaid camp attendee Tammy Nabors Middleton has promised photos and a write-up of the actual event, in case you will be tragically deprived as I will be. (Though it is not too late to get tickets! And cheap flights!)(I myself will be on a mermaid diving trip in the Bahamas with characters like Chris Crumley and Iara Mandyn. I know. So many mermaid events, so little time.)
The producer of Mer-Palooza is none other than Stephanie Sims, who also put on the mermaid pageant at Mer-Con and hosts the mermaid pageants at Weeki Wachee and is trademark owner for Tampa Bay’s annual pirate celebration, Gasparilla, among other things (here’s my interview with her from last year). She decided to do it after attending MerCon last year, where she “saw the beauty and saw some different elements [she] could infuse [and then] knew [she] wanted to do it for the east coasters.” It so happened that at the same time, Gary Antol Jr., merman and one of the original creators of Mer-Con, was planning a massive east-coast mermaid party. The two joined forces and then, like Aphrodite appearing on the half-shell, Mer-Palooza was born. (Every mermaid gathering needs an origin story to cement its mythic status.)
Mer-Palooza will ALSO feature a huge awards ceremony, where the best mermaids and pirates from all over the world will be recognized. You can vote online here up until midnight this Friday. You will clearly want to pay SPECIAL ATTENTION to the BEST MERMAID/PIRATE WEB SITE, BLOG OR RECURRING COLUMN category, as well as to the BEST MERMAID/PIRATE AUTHOR category, for OBVIOUS REASONS. Votes are one smacker each.
Below are quotes from some of the featured ladies:
From Traci Hines:
From Sasha the Fire Gypsy:
I am super excited for Mer-Palooza! I can’t wait to see all of my Mermaid friends and fans, make new friends, swim for an entire weekend, and have so much fun! Mer-Palooza is an event for everyone and brought to life by all of those who attend. It is a gathering of Mermaids, Pirates, Faeries, and Humans to share their passion with each other. There will be all kinds of tail makers, mermaid accessories, artwork, and much more! There will be performances as well. During the day, you can probably find me swimming in my tail. At night, I will be performing with fire.
I am excited to be a part of Mer-palooza! I’m really looking forward to doing something special for all my mer and pirate friends. As always we are planning on doing something breath-taking…! Catch me on TV as I do my Underwater Leap of Faith escape (which Ripley’s Believe or Not is recognizing as a first in escapes) as a promo for the Mer-palooza convention (on Thursday August 9 at 10am at the Wyndham Orlando Resort for PBS TV’s Growing Bolder, as well as NBC Orlando and Brighthouse Networks). The escape has me in more restraints than any other women in an underwater escape—more than even Houdini! I’ll be locked up in handcuffs, leg cuffs, 30 feet of heavy chains, and a 15-lb lead weight belt—and have it all secured by the audience with seven padlocks. Before I hit the water and go down 11 feet, I will blow out my air and then attempt to escape all of the above with little to no air in my lungs… That is why I can call this escape breath taking!!!