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Get into the swim at the Return of the Mermaids
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Get into the swim at the Return of the Mermaids

  • Allison Jones, Mermaid Sophie, Benjamin Griffith, Mermaid Michelina, and Tabatha Holan.
    Jeffrey Mead Allison Jones, Mermaid Sophie, Benjamin Griffith, Mermaid Michelina, and Tabatha Holan.

4th Avenue and Downtown Tucson will be swimming with costumed creatures and sea-themed activities Saturday for the "Return of the Mermaids" festival.

The highlight of the day-long event will be a 9 p.m. parade of costumed mermaids from Haggerty Plaza, 316 N. 4th Ave., to "The Beach," a pop-up sandy spot at 50 N. Fifth Ave., between Hotel Congress and the MLK Apartments.

A series of bands and performance artists will appear at both the plaza and the downtown beach, including the Desert Soul Marching Band, Shrimp Chaperone, Flam Chen and Lykiska belly dancers.

A costume contest at the Haggerty Plaza at 7 p.m. will see awards to four children's age groups, as well as three adult grand prizes.

All are invited to dress up and take part in the fun, organizers said. Face-painting will be available at both locations.

The event kicks off at 11 a.m. Downtown, where an arts market will include selected artists selling jewelry and collectibles, and representatives from the TusCon Science Fiction Fantasy Convention, the Tucson Steampunk Society, XeroCraft, Silver Sea Jewelry and others.

Food trucks will be parked near the sand trucked in for the event space, and a number of area establishments along 4th Avenue will offer fun for kids and adults: "Mer-mitas" on the patio at Delectables restaurant, "Under the Sea Orchestra" kazoo and percussion lessons at the Schoolhouse of Rock, a cocktail hour at the Coronet, and a "Mermaid Speakeasy" at Ermanos.

Other events include a 5 p.m. storytime at Antigone Books, an ice dunk game and photo booth.

If you go

  • What: Tucson's second Return of the Mermaids event 
  • Where: Haggerty Plaza, 316 N. Fourth Ave., and the pop-up beach at 50 N. Fifth Ave., between Hotel Congress and the MLK Apartments
  • When: The Beach site opens at 11 a.m. and closes at midnight. The Fourth Avenue festivities begin at 5 p.m. and end around 9 p.m. with the start of a sidewalk procession from Haggerty Plaza to "The Beach." Parade line-up begins at 8:30 p.m.
  • Free admission

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