Mermaid Parade Coney Island

Coney's unofficial mayor survives 30th anniversary freak fest

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

Hey there: Red Reine donned a costume and face paint up for the annual freak fest.
All grown up: The parade celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, and Rosemary Di Pietra was there to wish it a happy birthday.
Coronation: King Neptune Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling and Queen Mermaid Annabella Sciorra were treated like royalty.
Spooky, scary: Naomi Lopez of Dyker Heights was dressed to kill.
Out in the open: Khahlindra Levister’s dress leaves little to the imagination.
Sister act: North Carolina natives Wendy and Elizabeth Morrison got in on the fun.
Fun in the sun: The parade included a wacky ceremony on the beach.
Star power: The parade after party featured a live DJ set from Grammy-nominated musician Moby.

The 30th annual Mermaid Parade was Dick Zigun’s favorite freak fest in recent memory — because he can’t remember the last one.

Coney Island’s unofficial mayor said he was “dosed” by a fan at last year’s parade, causing him to blackout and miss most of the fun when his spiked drink took effect.

Yet he says he remembers every minute of this year’s boozy mardi gras-style festival because he abstained from alcohol and had dedicated volunteers taste test all of his snacks to make sure that they weren’t poisonous.

“As a result I was the only sober person there,” joked Zigun, the parade’s founder and man behind Sideshows by the Seashore, which organizes and helps pay for $100,000 event, which is free to all revelers. “I got a good look at the Frankenstein monster I created.”

Approximately 1 million people attended Saturday’s parade, which kicked off on Surf Avenue at W. 21st Street, snaked its way through the historic amusement district, and ended with a wacky seaside ceremony that enfused voodoo culture with sand-encrusted Coney Island cornball flavor.

The scantily-clad parade goers, dressed as mermaids, nymphs, and mermen, marched past a reviewing stand where comedian Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling and former “Sopranos” star Annabella Sciorra officiated as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 5:34 pm, July 9, 2018
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