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Parade of Mermaids Feb. 9 at Bert’s

February 6, 2019
FL Guide

This Saturday, Feb. 9, Bert's Pine Bay Gallery and Bert's Seafood Grill will host the annual Parade of Mermaids. This gala is a fundraising event to benefit the Florida Commercial Watermen's Conservation Coalition.

FCWC's main purpose is to contribute its own water testing to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other science communities to gain a better understanding of the water quality issues and red tide events.

"After the red tide and blue-green algae blooms of 2018, we formed FCWC to scientifically monitor offshore waters," fisherman and FCWC director Casey Streeter said.

"We have commercial fishermen on the water every day," Streeter said. "NOAA was out here speaking with family members who have been here for generations and the conclusion we've all come to is what we had this year was something completely different.

The initial goal of the group is to raise funds for the equipment to test the water.

Deborah Cole, manager of Bert's Gallery said, "It seems like a perfect match: Mermaids are water creatures, and mermaid lore is a tradition that was created by watermen."

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Registration for the parade, for a donation of $10, begins at 4 p.m. at Bert's Pine Bay Gallery, located at the northeast corner of the Matlacha Bridge in Matlacha.

All forms of "mer-folk" are invited to participate, including merchildren, mermen and merdogs, even mertwins.

Food and refreshments will be available for a donation to FCWC. Prizes will be raffled off.

Musical guests, Strange Arrangement, will begin playing at 4 p.m.

At 6 p.m. there will be a costume judging on the front porch of Bert's Pine Bay Gallery. Judges include Robert N. Macomber, Mel Meo and Bert's own Dan Carney, a.k.a. "Dan Dan the Handyman."

The master of ceremonies, Cole, will introduce the mercontestants, and the 2018 mermaids who tied for first place, Emma Lewis and Julie Rae. One of them will crown the 2019 1st Place Mermaid, who will win a $100 gift certificate for Bert's Gallery. Prizes will also be awarded for 2nd and 3rd place Mer-Creature, Most Original Costume, Best Merman and two prizes for Best Merchild.

At 7 p.m., the Parade of Mermaids will leave the gallery, walking west to the crest of the bridge where the mermaids will throw an offering into the water, calling out a song to "The Sisters of the Deep." The mermaid offering has always been a sprig of rosemary, a fragrant herb representing memory, and a pair of mermaid slippers (slipper shells). Legend has it that the use of mermaid slipper shells enables mermaids to walk on land.

The Parade of Mermaids will then proceed to Bert's Bar and Grill for more photos, fun and fund-raising.



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