I Am A Mermaid
August 1, 2011 [edited for SacramentoMermaids.com]
[Sacramento Mermaids’] Jenn Mehm-Oakes
by Carolyn Turgeon
“So I have been teaching in and travelling around Alaska (I’m an associate faculty member at the University of Alaska at Anchorage low-residency MFA program, so if you’d like to write more effectively about mermaids [or selkies as my current student Morgan Grey is doing] please apply and come study with me)(ok fine, you can write about other things too), so please forgive my terrible lack of updating this blog. One big event that’s come and gone is the first annual Promenade, which took place on July 16th… Also, I did an interview with one of the planners of the [Promenade], Jenn Mehm-Oakes, in June… but between Weeki Wachee… and Alaska, I done forgot to post it here. !! I know, it is inexcusable, but now you shall have something to look forward to next summer aside from heat waves and popsicles.
In the meantime, please pretend it is still June, and listen as I talk with Ms. Oakes about her diabolical plots and schemes:
Have mermaids (and mermen) become a real presence in Sacramento since Dive Bar opened (or did it start before that)?
Well, Hamburger Pattie’s (Hamburger Mary’s) has always had beautiful mermaids hanging in their restaurant, but other than them and the Dive Bar, I don’t know of any other mermaid themed places in Sacramento… We had heard about the Dive Bar opening up and thought originally that it would be a good idea to tie them into our [Promenade], but then we decided to just keep it as DIY and homegrown as possible for the first year, so we don’t have any sponsors except for our friends that are business owners and are supplying the prizes, Magic Salon, Phono Select and Dimond Makeup.
What do you have planned for the [Promenade]?
We’ve chosen our [Promenade] route in Old Sacramento, and are collecting registration forms from lots of people who plan to march. The [Promenade] will be led by our Grand Marshall, Ms. Debora Iyall (of Romeo Void), our Queen Mermaid, Ms. Heidi Ho, and our King Neptune, DJ Shaun Slaughter. Prizes will be awarded for best costume in both adult and children’s categories by our Grand Marshall!
What can [Promenade]-goers expect?
They can expect a really fun day, and to see a lot of super great, colorful and creative costumes! This will definitely be a fun, family friendly event and an awesome photo opportunity!
Will you be marching? =)
What kind of support have you gotten from the city and local businesses and so on?
I haven’t received much support from the city or local businesses (other than our three sponsors), but to be honest, I don’t have enough experience or time to obtain support or gather sponsorships. Hopefully someone else involved will take on that responsibility for next year!
What has the response been?
The response has been very positive so far, and I think it will be a good time for everyone involved! We have received registrations from Folsom, Bakersfield, Cameron Park, North Highlands, Chico, and Rio Linda, as well as Sacramento. We have a Brownie Troop registered, and have also been contacted by the Pirates of Sacramento – the Crewe of the Crimson Delta!
Do you plan for this to be a yearly event?
YES! Bigger and bigger every year!”
-Carolyn Turgeon, IAmAMermaid.com
Sacramento Mermaids founder Jenn Mehm-Oakes and Promenade marchers making a Promenade-morning appearance on Good Day Sacramento!
Thanks to our friend Kiny McCarrick for this amazing photo set and slideshow!
Mermaid [Promenade] [edited for SacramentoMermaids.com]
“Old Sacramento was the site for Sacramento’s first Mermaid [Promenade]. Saturday afternoon, dozens of people of all ages dressed as mermaids, pirates, vikings, walruses, squids, octopus, sea gods and goddesses as they paraded down the streets of Old Sacramento.
Debora Iyall from Romeo Void served as Grand Marshall. The [Promenade] began at Rio City Café. Participants marched up the boardwalk, back down Front Street and ended back at the boardwalk. Besides the [Promenade] on the streets of Old Sacramento, Laughs Unlimited and the Crest Theatre (amongst others) had specials after the [Promenade] for those in costumes.
The sea creatures and those that sail the seas began to gather in front of the Rio City Café. Some people made final hair, makeup and costume changes as they waited for the [Promenade] to begin. Many who participated found out about the [Promenade] at the last minute and put together their costume that same day.
Registration had been held in the days before the event and those that registered in advance were eligible for prizes. Prizes were to be awarded for best costume in both the adult’s and children’s categories.
Shaun Slaughter participated in the [Promenade] dressed as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid was Heidi Ho.
Several mermaids had to be pushed on wheeled vehicles, as their fins would not allow them to walk on solid ground. Many of the participants had obviously spent much time thinking about their costume and putting it together with makeup. Although not everyone could spend as much time putting their outfits together, the main point of the event was to have fun, and in that aspect, it was a tremendously successful event.
Magic Salon, Phono Select Record Shop, Dimond Makeup Artistry and Strut Threads were the sponsors for the event. Other groups that joined the [Promenade] included a pirate meet-up group and Louisiana Sue promoting a pirate festival scheduled in September.
As the [Promenade] moved around Old Sacramento, it drew an audience. Many were not aware the event was taking place. Several people indicated they would look for the event next year and perhaps participate.
Once the [Promenade] came back to the boardwalk, it was time to gather and announce the winners for best costumes.
The children’s best costume award was presented first.
‘Thank you all for your participation,’ said Iyall as the children stood in front of her, ‘I will now confer with the Grand Marshall’s court.’
As the court talked things over, the girls who were registered waited in anticipation.
‘Second prize goes to Miss Beautiful Pink Princess, and that leaves our first prize winner. All were deserving,’ said Iyall. The audience cheered as the little mermaid made her way back to her family.
The next prize was in the ‘teens’ category. Only two teen registered participants were up for this prize.
‘In this category we have best and runner up. It was a very difficult decision. Our runner up in the beautiful green and lavender outfit. Our Best Teen is number 34.’ Again the enthusiasm exhibited by the audience was magnificent, bringing smiles to participants and the audience.
‘I wish you a life of fin!’ said Iyall.
Most of the registered participants were adults and as such, posed a dilemma as the adults came forward in front of the Grand Marshall and her court. Two categories for the adult category were Best and Runner Up.
‘The Best prize goes to number 59!’ Iyall announced. The mermaid was pushed in a cart by a pirate as they paraded around Old Sacramento and again now, as they took the Best Costume prize in the adult’s category.
‘The Runner Up is Ariel,’ Iyall announced. Many Ariels participated in the [Promenade] and the whole process of selecting winners was difficult for Grand Marshall, Iyall and her court.
The judging was the end of the [Promenade], but festivities continued as adult guests were invited to move on to Laughs Unlimited for music and drink specials. Anyone in costume would also receive free admission to the comedy act scheduled for 8 o’clock.
The first place children’s winner was Xochil Pasillas’ niece Corina. Her daughter Bella won fourth place. Diana, who is Pasillas’ daughter as well, won Best Costume in the teen category.
‘We all got together,’ said Pasillas, ‘we have cousins here and since we all love mermaids, we came here. It was a lot of fun.’
Pasillas also noted that they made all of their costumes. The costumes they created were created by putting together different outfits and by using their imagination.
‘We loved it,’ Pasias said and joined her family as they celebrated their prizes and showed off their costumes.
Debora Iyall was a great selection for Grand Marshall. After everything was over Iyall stayed to pose for photographs with guests.
The Crest Theater showed ‘Humanoids from the Deep’ at midnight, which kept the mermaid and mermen fun going. The film is a classic b-horror movie complete with aquatic horror scenes.
The first annual Sacramento Mermaid [Promenade] was a great event and was enjoyed by all who attended. Next year should be twice as big as word gets around.”
-David Alvarez, July 19, 2011
Thanks to our friend Ang Ratty for sharing these photos with us!
Watch this site for a new photo/video section and much more in the coming days!
Mermaids in Old Sac
“Over 100 nautical-looking folks showed up looking like creatures from the deep blue sea: pirates, lobsters, mermaids, walrus and others.
The Mermaid [Promenade] was a sort of preview for the midnight screening of Humanoids from the Deep, a classic b-horror movie with campy acting and aquatic horror scenes at The Crest.”
– Kati Garner, July 16, 2011