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Coney Island Mermaid Parade Asking for Donations to Ensure Its Survival
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10 May 2017 04:20 PM EST

-by Anthony Bell, Contributing Writer; Image: Mermaid Parade in 2004 (Image Source: Public Domain)

Coney Island's infamous Mermaid Parade is yet again in trouble.

Organizers of the 35th annual event confirmed on Monday that they are crowdfunding to ensure the parade will, in fact, be held this year, Gothamist reports.

The projected date for the festivities is June 17.

According to the nonprofit organization Coney Island USA, the campaign, titled "Feed the Mermaids," is asking for donations to help cover the costs of logistics and security, city permits, insurance, portable toilets, tents, and trucks. Their goal is to raise $50,000.

Coney Island USA, which also operates the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, Burlesque at the Beach, and the Coney Island Museum, have reportedly experienced "fairly serious financial crisis events," director James Fitzsimmons notes. To add to the struggle, the art organization's core staff of five people was let go this winter. And now they are facing higher permit and insurance costs this year.

"This past season it was just me on payroll—deferred payroll," Fitzsimmons explained. "It's unfortunately the side effect of running an arts institution."

This is also not the first time that the parade was at risk—the Mermaid Parade also crowd-sourced funds in 2013 following Hurricane Sandy. Fitzsimmons says the organization never fully recovered financially and that they have operated at a loss for years.

When Gothamist inquired if the parade would still be held if the funding goal was not met, Fitzsimmons said that he was not certain.

"That's always a possibility," he said. "There is enough push regarding the parade that will make this work, but it could leave us with larger financial problems."

At the time of writing, $4,615 has been raised. Anyone hoping to save the iconic event can donate here.

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