So I have been teaching in and travelling around Alaska (I’m an associate faculty member at the University of Alaska at Anchorage low-residency MFA program, so if you’d like to write more effectively about mermaids [or selkies as my current student Morgan Grey is doing] please apply and come study with me)(ok fine, you can write about other things too), so please forgive my terrible lack of updating this blog. One big event that’s come and gone is the first annual Sacramento Mermaid Parade, which took place on July 16th. Here’s a link to the site, with plenty of photos, including of Grand Marshall Deborah Iyall whom I interviewed here in May. Also, I did an interview with one of the planners of the parade, Jenn Mehm-Oakes, in June… but between Weeki Wachee and the Coney Island Mermaid Parade (pictures from which I shall post tomorrow) and Alaska, I done forgot to post it here. !! I know, it is inexcusable, but now you shall have something to look forward to next summer aside from heat waves and popsicles.
In the meantime, please pretend it is still June, and listen as I talk with Ms. Oakes about her diabolical plots and schemes:
So how did the Sacramento Mermaid Parade come about? What inspired it?
Earlier this year, I was talking with my hair stylists (Magic & Mason, owners of Magic Salon) about the Coney Island Mermaid Parade… I had marched in it in 2000 and I was thinking about going back East and marching in it again. They had never heard of it, and were really interested… Before I knew it, we were planning our own parade here in Sacramento! Between the three of us, we have LOTS of creative friends, so before long, we had a planning committee, a logo, a website, and fliers!
Have mermaids (and mermen) become a real presence in Sacramento since Dive Bar opened (or did it start before that)?
Well, Hamburger Pattie’s (Hamburger Mary’s) has always had beautiful mermaids hanging in their restaurant, but other than them and the Dive Bar, I don’t know of any other mermaid themed places in Sacramento… I have always loved mermaids, and the parade in Coney Island is something to be seen! We had heard about the Dive Bar opening up and thought originally that it would be a good idea to tie them into our parade, but then we decided to just keep it as DIY and homegrown as possible for the first year, so we don’t have any sponsors except for our friends that are business owners and are supplying the prizes, Magic Salon, Phono Select and Dimond Makeup.
What do you have planned for the parade?
We’ve chosen our parade route in Old Sacramento, and are collecting registration forms from lots of people who plan to march. The parade will be led by our Grand Marshall, Ms. Debora Iyall (of Romeo Void), our Queen Mermaid, Ms. Heidi Ho, and our King Neptune, DJ Shaun Slaughter. Prizes will be awarded for best costume in both adult and children’s categories by our Grand Marshall!
What can parade-goers expect?
They can expect a really fun day, and to see a lot of super great, colorful and creative costumes! This will definitely be a fun, family friendly event and an awesome photo opportunity!
Will you be marching? =)
OF COURSE!!! I’m wearing a version of the costume that I wore when I marched in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade!
What kind of support have you gotten from the city and local businesses and so on?
I haven’t received much support from the city or local businesses (other than our three sponsors), but to be honest, I don’t have enough experience or time to obtain support or gather sponsorships. Hopefully someone else involved will take on that responsibility for next year!
What has the response been?
The response has been very positive so far, and I think it will be a good time for everyone involved! We have received registrations from Folsom, Bakersfield, Cameron Park, North Highlands, Chico, and Rio Linda, as well as Sacramento. We have a Brownie Troop registered, and have also been contacted by the Pirates of Sacramento – the Crewe of the Crimson Delta!
Do you plan for this to be a yearly event?
YES! Bigger and bigger every year!