The mermaids of Coney Island may not go extinct after all. Donations are pouring into a Kickstarter campaign set up by Mermaid Parade organizer and Sideshows by the Seashore founder Dick Zigun to fund the iconic freak-fest after Sandy laid waste to the fishy ladies’ natural habitat.
Zigun needs to raise $100,000 before his annual Mermaid Parade can ride down Surf Avenue for the 31st time on June 22 — so his freaky friends are offering sweet swag to those who contribute to his Kickstarter campaign, which launched May 7.
The Yale-man-turned-carnival-barker said Kickstarter and Coney Island oddballs are a match made in weirdo heaven.
“That’s the way the people of Brooklyn, the wackos of New York City, people who care about alternative culture across America, that is how they contribute to things,” Zigun said.
The rewards include prints by Harvey Stein, award-winning photographer and creator of the photo book “Coney Island: 40 Years,” and posters from graphic artist Frank Kozik — known for designing album covers for Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Melvins — as well as Martin Mazorra. Zigun is also giving out unique temporary tattoos, T-shirts, posters, “mermaid” swimming lessons, the chance to join parade floats, and VIP seating at the event.
In the just first three days the campaign has already raised more than $40,000 from 900-plus supporters. Most donors kicked in $40, entitling them to the very public-radio premium of a Mermaid Parade tote bag, plus a pair of very un-public-radio seashell pasties.
Sadly, the limited-edition Frank Kozik posters — at $90 each — are already gone, as are the $175 3-D self-portraits from the Great Fredini’s Coney Island Scan-a-Rama — a three-dimensional scanner-printer that can measure your dimensions and creates a statuette in your image.
Luckily there are still 11 slots left for the $250 premium of hanging out with the renowned Sexcamaids dance troupe, including a pre-party, marching with them in the parade, and an afterparty.
With 24 days left in the campaign, the friendly freaks hope to raise another $60,000. It’s an ambitious plan, but Zigun and his team are sure they will succeed.
“If everyone who went to the parade last year donated a dollar, we’d be fine,” said parade development director Tim Pendrell. “Kickstarter is a very grassroots way of fund-raising, and that’s the kind of parade we have.”