Mermaids have graced the city of Norfolk for twenty years now. Norfolk attorney Peter Decker (1936 to 2012), known as "Uncle Pete" throughout the community, introduced the idea of Mermaids on Parade at a breakfast with 300 business and civic leaders at Nauticus on November 30, 1999. The idea is credited to his wife Bess who was inspired during a visit to Chicago at the height of that city's Cows on Parade.
Mermaids on Parade
Through a public/private partnership, the Norfolk community pulled off a major event, "Mermaids on Parade," in a short period of time. It was a huge success. Sculptor Kevin Gallup mass-produced 130 fiberglass mermaid castings for artists to decorate. Business and community leaders from Norfolk and beyond "adopted" mermaids at $2,000 each that were auctioned off during the event.
Mermaids Around Town
Today mermaids are found throughout the City, downtown and in many neighborhoods. Some are old, some are new. They live in front of businesses, schools, hospitals, and homeowners' yards. Thanks to the Norfolk Sister City Association and other special events, there are mermaids all over the world. Some have had to be completely redone due to damage by the elements or unfortunately by vandals. Norfolk artist Georgia Mason creates new mermaids for organizations, individuals, and businesses. But one thing has remained since their appearance: they are truly loved by young and old, visitors and residents alike.
Social Media Hashtags
If you spot a mermaid, please post with our #NorfolkMermaids and #NorfolkOpenData!