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Posted on: February 5, 2019

Norfolk’s Mermaid Mascot Turns 20!

Her birthday present? A trip around the world.

NORFOLK, VA – Our Mermaid celebrates her 20th birthday this year! She wants to celebrate with her friends here in Norfolk and all over the world.

Watch for Norfolk’s mermaid on social media with the hashtags #Mermaid20 and #NorfolkVA. She will be traveling the globe as a “mermaid in the mail” all year long and taking “shellfies” along the way. You’ll also see our mermaid making a splash around the city as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, during events at Town Point Park, in our libraries and recreation centers, and as part of a city-wide scavenger hunt.

Norfolk adopted the mermaid as its symbol in 1999, following the suggestion of longtime Norfolk attorney and philanthropist Pete “Uncle Pete” Decker. He credited his wife, Bess, with the idea, who drew inspiration from Chicago’s “Cows on Parade” campaign.

The original mermaid design launched a campaign that led to a sea of sculptures, each based on a template created by local sculptor Kevin Gallop and customized by local artists and businesses. Norfolk’s mermaid swims all over our city, from Ocean View beaches to Wards Corner intersections to Downtown buildings. Our residents listened to her siren call, and versions of her grace brewery murals, jewelry counters, and even neighborhood lawns.

Join the party! Cut out the attached mermaid and take her with you to your favorite spots and snap a “shellfie.” She loves historical sites, museums, statues, cultural facilities, concerts, picnics, parades, festivals, other mermaids, boats and waterways, of course. Packing for a trip? Take her with you! She’s up for all kinds of adventures, so be creative. Post to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with our #Mermaid20 and #NorfolkVA hashtags so she can keep track for her birthday photo album!

Kids can get in on the birthday celebration, too – check out our Mermaid 20 coloring sheets. Color and hang at home, send us a photo with the #Mermaid20 hashtag, or send her back to us for possible inclusion in a Mermaid coloring exhibit. Make sure the little ones include their name, age, and city on the back!

We can’t wait to see where her travels take her! Thanks for helping our mermaid have a birthday year to remember. 

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