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Portlandia Mermaid Parade & Festival to bring undersea fun to dry land

The seventh annual event supports community connection to Portland’s waterways while celebrating local artists and entertainers.

Three women wearing mermaid tails, shells, and brightly colored maritime accessories sit on the side of a parade float covered in ocean-themed items.

Floating by on a parade float is an excellent mode of transportation when you have fins instead of legs.

Local merfolk will soon join Portlanders up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun. The Portlandia Mermaid Parade & Festival returns for a seventh year of colorful, sea-themed fun for all ages this Saturday, July 29.

Hosted by local entertainer and professional mermaid Una, this year’s event shell-abrates the art of drag in honor of the late Darcelle XV. The event’s website states that challenging conventional norms by donning tails, shells, glitter, and wigs is rooted in drag and “serves as a meaningful form of creative expression for many.”

Opening ceremonies begin at 12:30 p.m. at the Japanese Historical Plaza at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The parade starts at 2 p.m. and will follow the waterfront to Poet’s Beach.

Want to dive in? Merfolk ages 18 and up can register by Friday, July 28, to compete in the Merfolk Drag Race Competition taking place during the opening ceremony.