It’s about time for the people of Yelm and the surrounding area to put on their fins and flip over to the town’s first Mermaid Festival from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 20 at Yelm City Park.
“I am putting on the Mermaid Festival because I grew up on Eld Inlet in Olympia on the water and early on always loved the water — would spend hours in the water,” said Natalie Ames, event organizer. “My neighbors always called me a mermaid. So I have always loved and believed in mermaids, and I know there is a huge fan base (for) mermaids. I figured why not start a festival to bring together people who love mermaids?”
Ames said she hopes the festival is a flip-flopping success and that it creates a foundation for future mermaid festivals.
Specifically, she would like enough people to be enticed by the activities and camaraderie that the festival offers for them to want to return next year.
“The festival will have groups of professional mermaids coming down from Seattle,” Ames said. “Two will have pools setup so they can put on shows. There will also be mermaids wandering around saying hello to people and for pictures. Yelm Preschool Learning Tree is having a mermaid potion bottle activity, dig for shells, etc. Another vendor is doing (a make-your-own) jellyfish activity.”
Beyond these activities, Ames said that will be plenty more to do.
She said she hopes attendees will enjoy her mermaid-themed vendors and their products.
“I have lots of kid vendors,” she said. “I also have Grandmer Orchid the mermaid coming. She has an amazing booth and reads stories to kids.”
Ames said the reason why she wants to put on such an extravagant day devoted to mermaids is all in her personality.
“I am super outgoing, bubbly and I love the water and swimming,” she said. “I have a swimmable mermaid tail I swim in. I just knew I would be the perfect woman to pull this festival off. Now with the splash pad in Yelm, the park is the ideal spot for the Mermaid Festival.”
However, whether the splash pad will be up and running by July 20 remains to be seen.
To top it all off, there will be an adult and child costume contest. All participants have to do is show up in their mermaid garb and have their costumes be evaluated by Ames and company. The times for costume judging are not final.
Learn more about the Mermaid Festival on Facebook at facebook.com/yelmmermaidfestival.