For more than 50 years, residents of Bay St. Louis, Miss., have witnessed the spectacle of mermaids parading their way down Highway 90 toward nearby Waveland every Mardi Gras season. Marching bands and dancers accompany a procession of 23 vividly decorated floats, all customized with their own themes that change from year to year.
Previous iterations have featured floats and their mermaid riders decked out in gold, while other times they have sported items representing a multitude of cities and countries or locations such as Disney World.
The hosts of this Mississippi-based Mardi Gras event are the Krewe of Nereids, an all-women krewe that a group of businesswomen originally founded in Waveland in 1967. Nereids, the organization’s namesake, are sea nymphs from Greek mythology who were the children of the deities Nereus and Doris. These entities served as the foundation for tales of mermaids.
Building, storing and insuring their own floats each year naturally runs up significant expenses, so the Krewe of Nereids launched a fundraising event called the Mermaids Arts and Crafts Show in 2016 to cover the costs. This year’s event is this Saturday, Nov. 12, and Sunday, Nov. 13, at the historic L & N Train Depot (1928 Depot Way) in Bay St. Louis. It happens annually on the second weekend of November.
‘Demonstrations of Artisanship’
The Mermaids Arts and Crafts Show features more than 75 vendors from Mississippi and beyond selling handmade goods such as stained glass, carved wooden bowls, serving plates, jewelry, pepper jellies, pottery, wind chimes made from bottles and other objects, and more. To qualify as a vendor for the show, crafters must produce items that are at least 50% handcrafted.
Of the more than 75 vendors that will attend this year’s Mermaids Arts and Crafts Show in Bay St. Louis, Miss., a majority are based in Mississippi, like Lawson Woodworks (pictured) from Gulfport. Photo courtesy Krewe of Nereids
“When we say 50% handcrafted, we mean that you don’t just order things from somewhere else and sell it; you make real crafts and art pieces by hand,” Jeanne Richardson, co-chairwoman for the Krewe
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