Mermaid Week SMTX 2016 festivities


July 24, 2016 
Lori Steindorf, San Marcos Daily Record 
Mermaid Week SMTX 2016 gets underway Sept. 10

Mermaid Society SMTX is making a SPLASH in the community as residents eagerly await Mermaid Week SMTX 2016 festivities that will get underway Sept. 10.According to Mermaid Society SMTX’s July Moreno, the acronym SPLASH represents Stewardship, Preservation, Local, Arts, Sustainability and Heritage. Central to the community-minded movement inspired by the majestic San Marcos River and its flora and fauna is the mermaid. Her image is meant to serve as a symbol for San Marcos to remind all to respect and protect the natural beauty an resources of the river for generations to come, according to Mermaid Society SMTX.Moreno describes the mermaid as the guardian of the San Marcos River who boldly embodies strength and resourcefulness with an inner beauty that radiates and spirit that is loving, protective and nurturing. In comparison to other cities, San Marcos will now have its own signature celebration with Mermaid Week SMTX for residents to treasure infinitely. 

The celebration will commemorate the city’s storied history while promoting tourism, the arts and economic prosperity.  Residents can expect to see mermaid statues hoisted throughout town that brand San Marcos and celebrate its unique identity as other communities have their set of statues that reflect their identity.Moreno said that Mermaid Week SMTX 2016 is exclusive to San Marcos and inclusive of the city’s attributes. An important thrust of the movement, she said, is acquainting tourists and those relocating to the area with the many purposes The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment serves in educating the community and preserving the city’s natural resources. Formerly Aquarena Springs, where the Aquamaids, the pioneering mermaids of San Marcos, entertained countless people, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment has widespread appeal for residents and visitors alike. According to its website, The Meadows Center’s mission is to develop and promote programs, research and techniques for ensuring water resources for human needs, ecosystem health and economic development. It offers aquatic-themed diversions for families to explore Spring Lake that include the popular glass-bottom boat tours in existence since 1945 as well as field trips and tours, paddling tours, scuba diving, Discovery Hall tours and scenic strolls along the Wetlands Boardwalk. 

Another important aspect is to shine the spotlight on San Marcos’ rich vein of artist talent, while encouraging Texas State University students to invest in the local community and plant roots for their futures in San Marcos instead of moving to larger cities after graduation.In homage to the Aquamaids, Mermaid Society SMTX has conceived and planned several exciting events for Mermaid Week SMTX 2016 while emphasizing San Marcos’ history and connection to the mermaid. Launching Mermaid Week SMTX 2016 on Sept. 10 is the inaugural MERtini Shakedown Competition where area restaurants and pubs will compete for the best MERtini cocktail. Dripping Springs Vodka and Main Street San Marcos have partnered with Mermaid Society SMTX for the event. Announcement of the winner will occur at the SPLASH Festival that's taking place on Sept. 17. The Mermaid Society “Art” Ball is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 16 from 7 to 11:30 p.m. on the grounds of The Meadows Center located in San Marcos.  This private evening includes starry night rooftop views, sunset glass bottom boat cruises, live music, dancing, dining, specialty cocktails, live art performances and the crowning of the Society’s first Queen, Shirley Rogers, and her Mermaid Court, all former Aquamaids. Mermaid-chic attire is suggested. This is a ticketed event and attendance to this art-inspired event will be limited. Shirley Rogers is the granddaughter of A.B. Rogers and daughter to Paul Rogers, creator of Aquarena Springs. Shirley Rogers and her Mermaid Court will be present during the Mermaid Parade planned for Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. 

Other honorees include grand marshals Billy Ray and Beverly Mangham of Eye of the Dog Art Center, Julie Balkman, owner of Wake the Dead Coffee House, Derrick Lee, Zach Halfin and Nathan Lawrence, co-founders of the Eyes of the San Marcos River, and Dr. Mario Garza, founder, and Maria Rocha, executive director of the Indigenous Cultures Institute. SPLASH King is Chris Rue of Stonewall Warehouse. Following the parade, The Mermaid Splash Festival will take place from 1 to 8 the San Marcos Plaza Park. There are also several other mermaid-inspired events scheduled. In coming weeks, the San Marcos Daily Record will feature stories in Sunday’s MyTown section that focus on the different facets of Mermaid Week SMTX 2016 .

Courtney Biller