There is now a festival dedicated to the magic of mermaids

There is now a festival dedicated to the magic of mermaids

Florida is known for the many unusual and wonderful headlines that seem to emanate from its residents. Last year, the state starred in numerous bizarre headlines like "Naked Florida man baking cookies on George Foreman grill responsible for fire" and "Florida men - 1 Disguised in Bull Costume - Allegedly Tried to Burn Down Ex-Boyfriend's Home With Spaghetti Sauce." But now, Floridans are using their uniqueness for some good.

Credit: Key West Mermaid Festival

This year's Key West Mermaid Festival takes place in Florida from July 5 through July 7. The summer event takes place at several locations across the small island off the coast of Florida. This first-ever festival will have mermaid meet-and-greets, vendors and educational programming for kids and adults alike. Coastal Living wrote about the anticipated event's activities, most of which are free to attend:

"the three-day extravaganza includes events such as breakfast with mermaids, ocean-themed arts and craft shows, parades, blue-themed nighttime parties, and an opportunity to strap on a tail and unleash your own spirit mermaid in the crystal-clear sea."

Credit: Key West Mermaid Festival

Head Mermaid, and creator of the festival, Kristi Mills expects attendees from across North America (though I can't imagine that any of the nice people in Canada would be crazy enough to join in). Mills, a Key West resident, runs a local boutique that sells mermaid tails and accessories.

She became interested with the mythical creatures after growing up around water. She says her and her sisters learned to swim before they could walk and would bind their ankles with shoelaces to transform into mermaids. Mills is also a part of a local "pod" of mermaids who host events, entertain at parties, and teach children swim lessons and about ocean conservation.

Credit: Key West Mermaid Festival

The Key West Mermaid Festival isn't just for entertainment, but education too. The festival donates to Reef Relief, a nonprofit that aims to save the ocean's coral reefs. The event website reads:

"This fin-tastic three-day event will unite the Key West locals and tourists, our neighboring Keys, visiting mermaid communities, and mermaid enthusiasts from around the world, on our magical little island. Family friendly, with fun for all, join us as we raise awareness for our beautiful oceans and educate all humans to swim safely in mermaid tails."

So what are you waiting for? Strap on your tail and swim to the coast!