Thursday, January 26, 2017

Being a Mermaid - My Visit to the NC Mermania Convention 2017

Photo by Mertography
January 21-22 found me at NC MerMania 2017: the largest gathering of Mermaids and Merfolk in the world. Performers and hobbyists from all over the globe came to splash around, connect, giggle and play at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, NC.

This was the largest Merfolk convention to date: over 400 mer-people and their families came out to join in the fun.

I spent all of Saturday morning and afternoon in the pool, swimming and connecting and laughing.  There were so many faces I'd only seen online -- mermaids are a close knit bunch on Facebook -- and it was great to meet these incredible ladies in person.  I also got to reconnect with friends from past mermaid portfolio destination trips to the Bahamas and Hawaii and Mexico.

Tail Making

I make all my own mermaid tails (I brought my newest Ariel tail and my Light-up Glimmer tail this year), so I loved talking to the other mermaids wearing handmade creations.  I met one mermaid who'd found my Neoprene Mermaid Tail Tutorial and created her own unique tail based on my methods.  I could barely contain myself.

The range of materials and tail designs was endless.  Sequins, fabric, neoprene, duct tape, paint, glue, silicone, monofins, and real shells or found materials all came together in a splash of form, color and function.

For the non-maker mermaids, there are a handful of companies that create customizable silicone "realistic" tails for purchase.  Some of the larger companies include FinFolk Productions, MerTailor and MerNation tails.  I also encountered plenty of gorgeous tails made by smaller companies or individuals looking to participate in the mermaid craze -- Merbella Studios is one of my favorites among these.

Kid's Swim

I got the chance to participate in the kid's swim.  Watching little girls becoming a mermaid for the very first time is really powerful.  I perform at a lot of kid's birthday parties as a swimming mermaid, so swimming with the kids just feels so right and so natural to me, and I can really connect with them and watch their spirit unfold and soar. This might have been my favorite part of the day.

Photo by Mertography

Fathoms Below Ball

The evening festivities included a gala dinner and a Fathoms Below Ball dance party.  I provided the entertainment with my LED Light Dance Show, which I customized to the event by adding mermaid-themed persistence-of-vision (POV) images to my Supernova Poi and Morning Star Double staffs (with Adafruit inside!).  The crowd went wild whenever mermaids made of light appeared in the air around me.

photo by Mertography
photo by Mertography
photo by Mertography

The theme of the ball was illumination, and lots of people came in light-up costumes.  These ranged from Luminex dresses, to custom-made angler-fish masks, to the cheap but effective method of just adding battery powered light strands to a dress.  I've never performed for such a luminous audience.

Mermaid Glimmer

After the ball wound down, everyone headed over to the hotel pool for an after-hours swim with Mermaid Glimmer.  Glimmer is my own personal one-of-a-kind creation: an arduino powered, bluetooth-controlled swimmable mermaid tail with around 200 addressable LEDs.  When the lights go out, Glimmer lights up the pool with LED rainbows and everyone watching turns into a 7 year old girl.

I am filled with gratitude for getting to be a part of such a wonderful, accepting, loving community.  With the Live-Action Little Mermaid Movie set to come out in 2017, mermaids are coming more and more into the public eye.  Mermaids are the new Vampires!  You heard it here first.

My Little Mermaid FanFic Photo!

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