Mermaids swim through the streets at the annual festival and promenade | Life & Arts

The sound of music, the smell of food and the sight of mermaids sewing brought the community together for its sixth annual Mermaid Festival and Walk on Saturday.

Hosted by the Mermaid Society of Texas, The Mermaid Capital of Texas Fest has been an annual San Marcos event since 2016. Mermaid Society of Texas founder July Moreno was inspired by San Marcos’ rich mermaid history that goes back to the Aquarena Springs Amusement Park to create The Mermaid Society.

The organization’s primary goal is to raise awareness of the San Marcos River, and the Mermaid Festival, its largest event, does so using San Marcos’ title as the Mermaid Capital of Texas.

“The San Marcos Mermaid just puts San Marcos on the map,” Moreno said, “It’s really unique in the sense that people expect a mermaid in maybe coastal towns, but in San Marcos, maybe to some people it doesn’t make sense what gives us the opportunity to talk about it and why it matters to us.There we come in talking about our San Marcos River.

Lauren Vecchio, a former student in education, has lived in San Marcos for seven years but has never attended Mermaid Fest. She was looking forward to attending Mermaid Fest for the first time this year dressed in full head-to-toe mermaid gear.

Vecchio was also in the walk which started at the corner of CM Allen and Cheatham St. The parade festivities continued at the Downtown Street Faire.

Vecchio said the mermaid symbol in San Marcos made him appreciate the city for its uniqueness and atmosphere of big, small-town culture.

“A city needs something to come together for and I think what better than the mermaid herself,” Vecchio said. “It’s so mystical everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I love it. I feel the idea of ​​a mermaid and a unicorn and all those special things, I feel like that’s what that San Marcos is for anyone who comes here.”

Moreno’s goal for Mermaid Fest is to have people across Texas, the United States and around the world celebrate the unique culture of San Marcos as they do other popular festivities such as Fiesta de San Marcos. Antonio and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. She’s already halfway there because the people of San Marcos aren’t the only ones showing up to enjoy the magical event.

Friends Lori Dowty from Seguin, Texas and Becky Wiggins from Austin, Texas traveled to San Marcos to celebrate Mermaid Fest. Dowty found out about the festival last year but said she felt left out because she wasn’t in costume. As soon as Dowty returned from the festival last year, she began planning her costume for this year.

“I randomly came over one day because my daughter and I were bored, so we just got in the car and came here dressed normally, and we were like, ‘We’re leaving next year and we’re going to dress. We are pulling out all the stops,” Dowty said.

Not only was Dowty dressed in a mermaid outfit, but she invited her friend Wiggins to come and enjoy the event with her. Dowty and Wiggins said they loved the event for its peaceful atmosphere, the camaraderie of San Marcos civilians and the bright smiles from everyone around them. Wiggins enjoyed her first Mermaid Fest and plans to attend next year.

“I really love how whimsical and just fun it is,” Wiggins said. “I like to celebrate the energy of women.”

Dowty and Wiggins plan to make the event their own annual event, making their costumes bigger and better every year.

Prior to the pandemic, Mermaid Fest ran for two weeks with events like the Mermaid Walk, Downtown Street Faire, River Guardianship Symposium, Art and Culture Symposium, Mermaid Society Art Ball, Aqua Faire and Mer- tini Shakedown Competition, with dates open in between for companies to hold their own contributing mermaid events.

This year, the Mermaid Fest was just a combination of three events: the Mermaid Promenade, the Downtown Street Faire and the River Guardianship Symposium, a community conversation and a celebration of the growth of the Great Springs Project. Next year they hope to bring back all the events and add a Dash and Slash 5k event and the Eco-Fashion Runway event.

Moreno is proud to see how far Mermaid Fest has come since 2016. At one of the first Mermaid Fests, people dashed her expectations of how many people would actually attend. Seven years later, however, San Marcos continues to appear.

Still fueled by the community and volunteers who help Moreno make Mermaid Fest possible, the Mermaid Society plans to continue hosting the annual event.

“It’s to unite our community,” Moreno said. “To unite our community and have that sense of a community where the university and San Marcos are one community. Everything that happens in San Marcos concerns us all. It benefits us all.”

The Mermaid Society will not stop at the festival to bring the community together and raise awareness of the San Marcos River. They plan to continue to help clean up the rivers, preserve and foster greater mermaid culture in San Marcos, and further expand their eco-education program for children.

“Stay tuned Mermaid Society, our vision is very broad,” Moreno said.

For more information about The Mermaid Society, visit www.mermaidsocietysmtx.com/.

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