The merfolk community wanted more. Their annual gathering, which has been held on the promenade in Sacramento for the past five years, wasn’t enough anymore, so Rachel Smith and Ashley Rastad, both mermaids at the Dive Bar, decided to expand into a full convention. And so we now have the California Mermaid Con, a three-day event where mermaids and mermen (and regular people, too!) can mingle and learn and model and admire each other’s costumes.
Events included photo sessions with professional photographers, merfolk yoga — because this is California — a bubble ball, and a river cleanup to highlight conservation efforts by the American River Parkway Foundation.
The attendees were “unbelievably warm and friendly,” according to photographer Monique Jaques, who covered the event for BuzzFeed News. “The participants were so happy to be there and be amongst other mermaids, it was amazing to watch.”
Most impressive to Jaques was their commitment to inclusivity and their ability to stay in character. “I think it’s actually rather ungraceful, the transition from land to sea, but I never saw any of the professional mermaids who were having sessions in the children’s pool put their tails on. It would be uncouth to see a mermaid without a tail if you are a child.”