SAVE THE MERMAIDS Kickstarter Reaches $100,000 Goal

On June 3rd at Midnight, the 27-day $100,000 Kickstarter campaign to save Coney Island's Mermaid Parade will come to a close. On the morning of May 30th, the initial goal was met through small contributions from people around the world. Widespread attention from media, celebrities (Alec Baldwin, Darren Aronofsky, etc.), and, well, everybody has created a veritable flash flood of support for the 30 year old event.

"It doesn't surprise me. The folks that participate love it and the observers love it. I am thrilled that folks have responded so beautifully," the Daily News quotes Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz as saying. "The Mermaid Parade is America's most underdressed parade and it is a major tourist attraction not only in Brooklyn, but the entire city of New York."

The Mermaid Parade, conceived and managed by the not-for-profit arts organization Coney Island USA, is in jeopardy due to extensive Hurricane Sandy storm damage to their landmarked arts center at 1208 Surf Avenue and rising production costs. Funding the recovery and the Mermaid Parade has proven to be extremely challenging for the small organization.

"Let's face it: we've had some hard times," says parade founder Dick Zigun, speaking in Coney Island USA's damaged headquarters, in the Kickstarter video. "Where I'm standing was up to here in floodwater-our headquarters was totally destroyed...We're still recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, and it's just beyond us. We can't pull it all off this year."

To aid in the Mermaids' effort to emerge unbowed victorious over Superstorm Sandy, the Kickstarter was launched on 5/7. With the same irreverent, free spirit that entices almost a million people to the Mermaid Parade every year, the Kickstarter campaign features rewards that run the gamut from a set of pasties (unisex) designed by contributors to your own private air-conditioned porta potty to a (literal) Freak Flag. All of which are exclusive to Kickstarter and will not be available upon the Campaign's conclusion.

In support of the grassroots campaign, Markowitz will be offering a unique reward: the top two donators to the Mermaid Parade campaign will get to ride on a special float at the front of the Parade with Marty.

"Anything for the Mermaids!" says Markowitz.

With a couple days left, the people of Brooklyn and the world have the chance to continue their unbelievable support and put the Parade on more solid ground for the future and in the process make a tax-deductible donation and get once-in-a-lifetime rewards.

The campaign is currently the most funded Public Arts Event ever on Kickstarter. The Mermaid Parade will now officially kick off at 1pm on June 22nd. This year's King Neptune is Judah Friedlander (30 Rock) and Queen Mermaid is Carole Radziwill (Real Housewives of New York).

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