This year’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade may have been canceled but the award-winning Rockaway Mermaid Brigade was hard at work planning something special for those facing their own cancellations—graduates. On Friday, June 12, the Rockaway Mermaid Brigade brought some smiles to the Class of 2020 with a graduation parade featuring none other than Rockaway icon, Whalemina.
The Brigade boarded Whalemina, driven by his creator, artist Geoff Rawling, and Jerry Rea’s fire truck for some Rockaway-style pomp and circumstance. The Brigade blasted the graduation tune for all graduates to hear as they drove from Beach 135th Street along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Newport Avenue and Beach Channel Drive to Far Rockaway, passing local schools along the way. Some graduates lined the streets and others waved from porches as Whalemina, the recreated and now mobile whale sculpture, went by.
Due to coronavirus, the Mermaid Parade scheduled for early June was canceled this year, and as many traditional graduation ceremonies have been made virtual this year, Rockaway’s mermaids wanted to bring them a reason to feel special. As for Rockaway’s own nautical parade, Poseidon’s Parade, it’s still “optimistically scheduled” for Saturday, September 26. In the meantime, people can catch of a glimpse of Whalemina in front of the Belle Harbor Yacht Club.
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By Katie McFadden