Texas is known for many things, and apparently, mermaids are one of them.
Mermaids are honored in “San Marvelous” with a festival and fair in recognition of their role as guardians of the San Marcos River.
San Marcos only recently received the official “Mermaid Capital of Texas” designation in May 2021, after legislation calling for a state declaration finally reached Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, but the city has been putting on the event for the past six years.
“This festival is really designed to be an identity destination event,” said July Moreno, executive director of the Mermaid Society of Texas, speaking with KVUE.
“We want to bring people into our town to celebrate our beautiful San Marcos River … The mermaid is really the symbol of river guardianship,” Moreno added.
She went on to discuss how the event calls back to the local Aquamaids, a synchronized swimming and underwater ballet performance that used to be held at the Aquarena Springs on the San Marcos River from the 1950s until the 1990s. Even 70 years ago, San Marcos had a mermaid heritage.
Now mermaids across San Marcos, both real and statuesque, are bringing attention to the importance of keeping the river clean and protected.
San Marcos’ mermaid aesthetic usually kicks in around early September, and the weeks of environmental awareness and fun mermaid themes culminate in a number of public celebrations.
The “Party at the Downtown Promenade” parade will march on September 24 from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Floats, dancers, and music will be showcased, followed by the downtown street fair from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m., featuring an art market and food trucks.
There also will be a Mermaid Art Ball featuring mermaid artwork and colorful mermaids dressed in their best tails.
If you get there early, be sure to check out the Mermaid March, a public art project consisting of 10 mermaid statues intended to bring awareness to and celebrate the indigenous American perspective on the San Marcos River and the city’s history.
For more information on San Marcos’ “Mermaid Capital of Texas Fest” and the month-long celebration of mermaids, visit the city’s website.