There’s a Mermaid Festival in Key West and it looks magical

Key West Mermaid Festival
Instagram / Key West Mermaid Festival

Darling, it’s better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me!

For most people, the weekend after the July 4th holiday will be filled with barbeques, sparklers and pool floaties. For America’s mermaid population, however, it will be a glittery long weekend of fin-flicking celebration at the second annual Key West Mermaid Festival.

Taking place on the Florida archipelago, the three-day festival is a mix of free and ticketed events that promote ocean conservation and celebrate a love of mermaids. Kristi Mills, a Key West native who owns The Captain’s Mermaid, a mermaid-themed boutique selling accessories and beachwear, founded the festival with friends.

She has been a lifelong mermaid-lover, obviously. “Being born and raised in Key West and the granddaughter of a commercial fisherman, my sister and I learned to swim before we could walk or talk and spent the majority of our childhood in the ocean,” she told Coastal Living. “We used to bind our ankles with shoelaces or scarves and pretend that we were mermaids.”

We have to say, just following the festival on Instagram is magical:

But we still want to go in person!

The festival is not affiliated with Disney or anything “The Little Mermaid”-related, but we’re betting more than a few of the mermaids first fell in love with the mer-lifestyle thanks to Ariel.

What To Do At The Mermaid Festival

Meet the Mermaids is a free event on July 5 at the local Havana Cabana Hotel. But, come on, these are mermaids. If you want to see those fins at work, tickets for swimming with the mermaids during the same event are $15 each. The swims are 30 minutes apiece and are for anyone ages 6 and up. Tails are also available for rent for $10 each.

The Mermaid Fest Parade will take place on July 6, where the mermaids will glide down Duval Street to the Truman Waterfront Park. Anyone can watch the parade, and people can apply to have a float in the parade as well. Recycled and eco-friendly floats with mermaid or underwater themes are encouraged.

Also on July 6 will be the Salty Saturday festivities, which will take place at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center. Guests at the free event can check out mermaid-inspired entertainment, as well as loads of vendors.

On July 7, there will be another free opportunity to hang out with the mermaids, or to purchase a ticket to swim with the bathing beauties. (No word on whether dogs with mermaid-themed lifejackets are allowed.) This one will take place at Lagerheads Beach Bar & Watersports, and the same ticket costs and tail rentals apply.

Even if you’re a confirmed landlubber, any one of these events seems like it could be a fun way to pass an afternoon (and take some unforgettable Instagram pics). It’s not too late to check out last-minute flights to Key West!

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Jessica Wakeman

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