San Marcos loves its mermaids all year, but these mythical water creatures come to life during SPLASH Festival. In September, San Marcos achieves peak mermaid status, as Mermaid Society of Texas holds its mermaid-centric SPLASH Festival with several events, to celebrate the San Marcos River and encourage taking care of the river.
“It’s quite the experience, one that you can’t have any where else. Like Mardi Gras is unique to New Orleans and surrounding areas, so are the SPLASH mermaid events unique to San Marcos,” founder and Executive Director of Mermaid Society of Texas, July Moreno, explained.
According to the Mermaid Society website, “SMTX Mermaid SPLASH is an annual city-wide, multi-event festival, celebrating our city’s arts, culture, heritage and our most precious resource, the San Marcos River.” While the Mermaid Society serves as a catalyst for river guardianship and respect for nature year-round, the two weeks of SPLASH events bring their message home for so many people. And it’s good, old-fashioned fun!
SPLASH Festival brings the city out in glittery scales and tails for several events, some open to the public and others requiring tickets. Mermaid Society of Texas and SPLASH Festival inspire and mobilize would-be mermaids and mermen to protect and celebrate all aspects of life on the river.
Here are some of the upcoming events:
- The Mermaid Society Art Ball, Sept. 20, 2019, Meadows Center for Water and the Environment (sold out, but there is a waiting list): a fundraising gala and mermaid dress up ball
- H.E.B. Mer-kid Mermania pre-parade face painting, 8-9:30 a.m. at the little H.E.B. (200 W. Hopkins St.)
- Downtown Mermaid Promenade, Sept. 21, 10-12 p.m., downtown San Marcos: a mermaid parade and celebration of the San Marcos River
- Mermaid Aqua Faire, Sept. 21, 12-6 p.m., San Marcos Main Park Plaza: a festival with art, food, and live music
- Parade watch parties, AquaBrew, Patio Dolcetto, and Crafthouse, Sept. 21 during the parade
- AquaBrew after party with OMAi art collective, Sept. 21, after the parade until closing
- The Mermaid Round Up, Sept. 29: San Marcos River and parks clean up and education day
July Moreno, of Mermaid Society of Texas, stresses the uniqueness of a city that so strongly associates with mermaids and the river. She states, “We have this incredible community of river stewards and environmentalists in San Marcos, but they are the minority of people here. We want more people to get involved.”
Her role and that of the Mermaid Society is clear to Moreno. “I want everyone to feel like we have something to contribute. We can talk about it, inspire others, or participate in a river clean up.” Moreno’s purpose in founding Mermaid Society of Texas was because she wanted to find a way to promote river stewardship, while using the obvious, near-universal appeal of their whimsical, sparkly mascot, the original guardian of the rivers, the mermaid.
The Meadows Center, formerly Aquarena Springs, had a famous mermaid show for decades. Most anyone living and traveling through Texas at the time remembers going to the shows or hearing about them. Moreno added, “People hear ‘mermaid’ and their ears perk up. I want it to be so common to leave the house with a trash bag when you’re going to the river, to smile and be friendly, to build and support the community.”
Educational programs encourage children and adults to take ownership of protecting our waterways. Their youth programming includes Mermaid Chats because who doesn’t want to learn about ecology and waterway guardianship from a mermaid? They encourage volunteers and have several volunteer opportunities. It’s great for the environment, plus fun and social.
“For in the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught. ”Baba Dioum via Mermaid Society SMTX
Learn more on the Mermaid Society SMTX website.