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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Mermaids dive into Mermaid Society’s annual festival

Meg Boles
Festival goers share a laugh before the Mermaid Promenade starts, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in San Marcos.

Shiny scales and mermaid tails filled the streets of downtown San Marcos to celebrate the seventh annual Mermaid Capital of Texas Fest on Saturday. 

The Mermaid Society of Texas has held the Mermaid Capital of Texas Fest since 2016. July Moreno, the founder of Mermaid Society of Texas, started the festival with the intention to bring awareness to local waterways.

“The river is a big part to many of us in our quality of life,” Moreno said. “It just seemed obvious that we needed to start paying attention to the ways that we can help protect it, and the mermaid is the symbol for that.”

Misty Green, a local San Marcos resident, has lived in San Marcos for 10 years. She came to the first Mermaid Capital of Texas Fest in 2016 as a “walk-around mermaid” and has kept her role ever since. 

For seven years, Green could be found walking around downtown San Marcos with a vibrant wig and a sequined tail during the festival. 

“Everyone came together for the first time [in 2016] and a lot of love was out there,” Green said. “Now, we have so many more vendors, a lot more community and more people involved and a lot more river awareness with a lot more people to talk about it.”

Along with bringing awareness to the San Marcos River, Moreno’s mission for the festival is to connect newcomers to the San Marcos community. 

Tresa Johnson, a beginner belly dancer in New Braunfels, joined the Mermaid Promenade for the first time this year. 

While Johnson believes the annual festival benefits the city of San Marcos by bringing more attention to the river and new local businesses, she said the festival allowed her to express her creativity through the art of a mermaid. 

“I love mermaids and the costuming and colors, because I am definitely a colorful girl,” Johnson said. “I think it’s really fun seeing the little children all dressed up with their little wigs and they’re all excited. That’s really fun just to bring joy.” 

Besides the annual festival, the Mermaid Society of Texas expanded its eco-guardianship book program this month to all elementary schools in the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District (SMCISD) in celebration of the festival’s seventh birthday. The program provides books to young students with the mission to educate on protecting the waterways. 

“Books that are purchased are all about eco-education and mermaids,” Moreno said. “And all the parade entries this year for the festival are 100% going to the youth eco-guardianship program, so how can you not want to be a part of the parade, knowing that you are contributing to our community?”

Although the celebration has ended, Moreno and many other local residents are looking forward to coming together again and celebrating the love for the San Marcos River and mermaids. 

“We are one community,” Moreno said. “And this river is the centerpiece to our town and this is something that we can all really be proud of and champion in a big, beautiful, amazing way. From babies in the arms, to children in schools, to university students, to all of the community.”

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