If you missed the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, there’s another chance to dress up like a sea creature this September.
The fourth annual Poseidon’s Parade at Rockaway Beach is rolling down the boardwalk on Sept. 22 as sort of a last summer hurrah for all ages.
Groups of mermaids, schools of fish and fanciful finned people are expected to march down the boardwalk at Beach 106, some pulling floats and riding bikes.
The low-key and jolly parade attracts about 500 people each year, including local business owners, workers and kids, according to Casey Brouder-Butler, the event’s creator.
Brouder-Butler, who works as an art teacher for kids on the autism spectrum, has marched in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade for more than a decade with the Rockaway Mermaid Brigade group, which has won “best motorized float” twice in a row.
She and the group decided that it was time to bring a parade across the bay to Rockaway Beach but in a non-intimidating format, she said.
Unlike much of the Mermaid Parade, Poseidon’s Parade is kid-friendly so you won’t have to cover any eyes.
“I grew up in Breezy Point and they have a Mardi Gras parade,” she told amNewYork. “My dad was a carpenter and my mom was creative — it was the one time that the whole community would be outside building floats. I wanted to bring those things together to Rockaway.”
This year she’ll be dressed as a puffer fish — she’ll be eight months pregnant, she said.
When choosing the parade’s name, Brouder-Butler wanted to go with something that would indicate a welcoming atmosphere.
Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, did the trick.
“I looked at how I grew up doing [the parade] with my father and I wanted something with a patriarchal feeling so that it would be more of a family thing,” she said. “I didn’t want people to be afraid. I wanted a strong symbol that wouldn’t scare men or families away — a way to include everybody.”
With that said, here’s all you need to know to take part:
When and where does this happen? Show up at noon at Beach 105th Street in Rockaway Beach. The parade ends at 4 p.m. at Beach 95th Street Plaza, so any point between on the boardwalk will give you a good view.
Why is this happening in September? Aren’t the beaches closed?
Yes, but this serves as a “farewell to the season” and a “last hurrah for Rockaway businesses,” according to Brouder-Butler.
“We try to keep it by the September equinox,” she said.
How can you participate? Buy your ticket for $5, unless you’re going to have a float, which is $30 and includes admission for five people.
You’ll check in at 10 a.m. at Caracas on the Boardwalk with the lady in the blue top hat.
Is there a contest? You betcha. There are a dozen categories including best baby carriage, best pet, best adult costume, best kid’s costume, best bar or restaurant float and best bicycle. Entire neighborhood blocks in Rockaway can also compete for best block as they march in the parade.
Are there any special guests? You’ll be delighted to know that Whalemina will be there. For those not in-the-know, Whalemina is a large, colorful, fiberglass whale sculpture (created by Geoff Rawling) that is a Rockaway icon. Poor Whalemina was swept away during superstorm Sandy but has since been rebuilt. She made her return at this year’s Mermaid Parade and is set to cruise through Rockaway, too.
Is there an after-party? Indeed, but it’s more of a festival. Head to the Under the Sea Lounge at Beach 95th Street for fun that’ll include a DJ, face painting, hula hooping, a mobile playground, crafts and an appearance from the ice cream man.
For more information visit www.poseidonsparade2018.com.