The small resort town of South Haven, Mich. is hosting Mermaid Megafest this Memorial Day weekend, May 25 – 27, 2018, in hopes of convening what could well be the largest gathering of merfolk the world has yet to see.
The purpose of the festival is two-fold: To raise awareness of the environmental challenges facing the Great Lakes ecosystem, and to break the Guinness World Record for the largest official gathering of merfolk, currently held by Bexhill’s Festival of the Sea which drew 325 mermaids, mermen, and merbabies to the South of England in 2017.
Guests will be treated to a pirate-themed carnival, a harbor boat parade, a siren’s ball, a laser light show, a mermaid academy on costuming and water safety, and Tales of the Sea: An Exhibition of Mythical Aquatic Art at the South Haven Center for the Arts.
The weekend begins on May 25th with a one-day Mermaid Eco-Action Conference sponsored by the Freshwater Mermaid Society. Keynote speakers and celebrity mermaid Hannah Frazier will lead discussions about freshwater ecology issues to drive home the need to protect aquatic ecosystems. The conference is designed to empower merfolk with a deeper knowledge of the challenges facing the Great Lakes, and utilize the mermaid phenomena as a springboard toward effective social activism for freshwater preservation.
On Saturday, May 26th Hannah will lead the mermaids to the South Haven Lighthouse in an attempt to assemble the largest official gathering of mermaids on earth. The fun continues with the Nauti Prows Flotilla led by South Haven’s tall ship Friends Good Will, a Siren’s Ball at Old Harbor Village, and a Luminescent Splash laser light show.
Sunday, May 27th brings a Pirate Street Faire to South Haven with pirates, live entertainment, sword fighting, food vendors, a carnival, and of course, mermaids!
Co-founders of the event, South Haven Center for the Arts’ Executive Director Thea Grigsby and board member Sandee Carrier, owner of Tipsy Brush Studio/Channel Wine Bar in South Haven, conceived of the festival when sharing ideas about the potential of integrating mermaids into a future exhibition. Overwhelming public response to a mermaid sighting at South Haven’s 2017 Sunset Jazz Festival ignited the spark and convinced local leaders to roll out the red carpet to the mermaid community.
The Great Lakes constitutes the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth, and the festival is essentially a platform for merfolk to deliver the critical message of preserving these resources through the fantasy realm of mythical creatures of the sea.
Mermaid Megafest is a collaborative effort between the City of South Haven, South Haven Center for the Arts, the Michigan Maritime Museum, the South Haven Yacht Club, and Old Harbor Village.
Visit mermaidmegafest.com for more information and to purchase event tickets.