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Coney Island USA will hold its 42nd Annual Mermaid Parade on Saturday, June 22, 2024.

By: Jun. 12, 2024
Coney Island USA Presents THE 42ND ANNUAL MERMAID PARADE  Image
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Coney Island USA will hold its 42nd Annual Mermaid Parade on Saturday, June 22, 2024. Painter Joe Coleman and his wife and muse, the photographer Whitney Ward, will serve as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid, respectively, the organization announced. 

The Mermaid Parade, long the unofficial kick-off to summer in New York City, is the nation's largest art parade. It celebrates ancient mythology and seaside ritual, drawing roughly 3,000 participants who proudly display handcrafted sea-themed costumes and elaborate floats alongside marching bands, drill teams, antique cars, and the hundreds of thousands of spectators who come to watch the spirited spectacle.     

“Our King and Queen this year  is a dream come true,” Coney Island USA's Artistic Director Rinn states. “I've been a fan of Joe Coleman's work since I saw an article about him in a horror magazine 35 years ago. Over the years, I got to know Joe and Whitney from hanging out in the judges' reviewing stands at the parade and because they're frequent guests at our fundraising events. They fully embrace all that Coney Island USA has to offer. Art, performance, and history. Plus they're two of the nicest, talented, and most down-to-earth people I've ever met.”

In keeping with tradition, the King and Queen will be wheeled through the parade in an antique wicker boardwalk rolling chair dating back to 1923.

Immediately after the parade, at approximately 4 p.m., Mr. Rinn will lead the King and Queen in a procession to the beach at 19th Street and the boardwalk for a ceremony to formally open the ocean for the summer swimming season.  

The Mermaid Parade Ball, presented by Coney Island USA and co-hosted by the Coney Island Brewing Company, kicks off at 3 p.m. at the Coney Island Amphitheater, 3052 West 21st St. Tickets and further information are available at

Parade registration and details can be found at:

About the Parade

The Mermaid Parade was founded in 1983 by Coney Island USA, the not-for-profit arts organization that also produces the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and houses The Coney Island Museum. The Mermaid Parade pays homage to Coney Island's forgotten Mardi Gras, which ran from 1903 to 1954, and draws from a host of inspirations, resulting in a wonderful and wacky event exclusive to Coney Island.

The parade was founded to achieve three goals: bring mythology to life for local residents who live on streets named Mermaid and Neptune; create self-esteem in a district that is often disregarded; and let artistic New Yorkers find self-expression in public.

Previous King Neptunes and Queen Mermaids have included Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Queen Latifah, Moby, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, Annabella Sciorra, Judah Friedlander, Deborah Harry, Chris Stein, David Johansen, Karen Duffy, Carole Radziwill, Harvey and Daphne Keitel.

About King Neptune Joe Coleman

Joe Coleman is a world-renowned painter, writer, collector, and performer who has exhibited for four decades in major museums and galleries worldwide, including one-man exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, and the Barbican Centre in London, and galleries in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Miami. He's currently represented by the Andrew Edlin Gallery in New York.

His beginnings were in underground comix and seminal performance work in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Coleman now focuses on his finely crafted paintings, meticulously executed with a single-hair brush. Each work requires years to produce. 

A dedicated supporter of Coney Island USA (CIUSA), Joe has curated shows and lectured on various topics at the non-profit arts organization that produces the parade. A major new monograph of Coleman's painting, A Doorway to Joe, was released by Fantagraphics Books last month.

About Queen Mermaid Whitney Ward

Whitney Ward has been a Mermaid Parade star for three decades. Each year, her elaborate, inventive, sometimes terrifying costumes elicit fear and delight in the crowd. Since her first appearance, she has become an icon of the parade. Her unique, over-the-top visions represent the darker, more ominous sea dwellers. An award-winning sea creature, Whitney raised the bar for creativity in one of the world's best-known and most influential art parades.

About Coney Island USA

Founded in 1980, Coney Island USA is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit multi-arts center dedicated to Coney Island's economic and cultural revitalization. Its mission is to “defend the honor of American popular culture through innovative exhibits and performances,” with signature programming including the Mermaid Parade, the world-famous Circus Sideshow, the Coney Island Film Festival, and Burlesque at the Beach. Coney Island USA also operates the Coney Island Museum, the only accredited institution uniquely dedicated to preserving and promoting Coney Island's history.  

About Coney Island Brewing Company

With spinning thrills, games of skill, treats on the boardwalk, the Atlantic Ocean, and horizon beyond, Coney Island is the end of the earth. This is America's playground, the place where dreamers come to be a part of a community built on amusement. At Coney Island Brewery, we brew beer that embodies the spirit of our iconic neighborhood to share with our friends and neighbors, near and far. For more information, visit and @coneyislandbeer on social media. Coney Island Brewery was originally founded in 2007. Its first location – inside Coney Island USA's Freakatorium – was known at the time as the “smallest brewery in the world.” When Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the brewery was destroyed, and a new brewery was built at 1904 Surf Avenue in 2015, just steps away from its original location. 


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