Coney Island’s ever-popular Mermaid Parade is at jeopardy of being canceled this year unless a newly-launched fundraising campaign can pull in enough donations to keep the show going, reports Gothamist. Nonprofit arts organization Coney Island USA, which plans and operates the annual parade, is aiming to raise $50,000 to cover the parade’s expenses after falling upon hard times.
Coney Island USA director James Fitzsimmons told Gothamist that the organization has been operating at a loss for years and never fully recovered from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. This isn’t even the first time it’s turned to crowdfunding to get the parade in good shape: In 2013, the group used Kickstarter to raise money in order to host that year’s parade.
During the winter, the company was forced to lay off its five staff members, and is now facing higher permit and insurance costs for this year’s parade. And thus, the campaign, called Feed the Mermaids, which the organization hopes will raise enough to cover the price of it all, including the costs of security, trucks, tents, and portable toilets.
Fitzsimmons says that if fundraising efforts fall short, he will consider trying to make the parade happen but would like to avoid getting into a deeper financial hole as much as possible.
Assuming all goes according to plan, though, the parade will happen June 17 at 1 p.m., with Blondie icons Debbie Harry and Chris Stein serving as the Mermaid Parade royalty.