The organizers of this year’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade said they are confident they will be able to pay for this year’s fete after receiving a hefty donation from a hometown native.
Meyer Orbach, the chairman of the development firm the Orbach Group, chipped in $20,000 Thursday to Coney Island USA’s ongoing fundraiser that is seeking $50,000 to pay for the June 17 parade. Orbach, who grew up in Manhattan Beach and attended the parade when he was a kid, said he read about the fundraiser in amNewYork and didn’t want to see the colorful event be canceled or scaled back due to a lack of funds.
“I wanted to give back,” he said during a news conference. “I have amazing memories of being here.”
The free parade, which features visitors decked out in colorful costumes and huge floats, has been a summer tradition in Coney Island since 1983. The event has grown in the years since it started, and now nearly 800,000 people are expected to attend this year, according to Dick Zigun, the founder of Coney Island USA, which runs the parade.
Due to the increased size, Zigun said his nonprofit has had to spend more and more money on insurance, crowd control, permits and other costs.
“Our small arts organization has a lot to offer, but we have a lot to take care of financially,” he said.
Since the fundraiser launched earlier this month, fans have raised $8,786. Coney Island Brewery has also pledged $5,000 to the campaign, which will keep running until June 17.
Orbach and Zigun urged other fans to donate to the cause and support the arts in the neighborhood.
“We are pretty confident that we will hit that goal,” Zigun said.