When you think of San Marcos, Texas you think of the fresh river flowing through the city, or the beautiful campus that sits on top of the hill, or all the happy people walking through “the square”. But what a lot of people don’t know is the heritage behind the mermaid here in San Marcos. In 1951 the Aquarena Springs Amusement Park opened up and needed a mascot, that’s when the idea for the mermaid to be the mascot. This became a staple of San Marcos and inspired many artists to begin creating art of mermaids around the city.
These different types of sculptures and murals now are great tourist attractions and bring in many families that want to take pictures or just admire the art. With all this hype and the history of mermaids in San Marcos, it’s very important to cherish the past of our city.
San Marcos even went and created a special park that is called “mermaid park”. With so much influence in the city more and more sculptures began to pop up. Including the two most famous ones.
Every year there is a mermaid festival that takes place in the city that features many fun daily friendly activities. They shut down one of the main roads in San Marcos just for a giant parade where different floats with different themes participate in the parade. Afterward, there are different booths with drinks, food, and games for everyone to play. This festival and parade bring families and students together from all over.
John Honaker is a San Marcos local and has gone to the festival since it began in 2014. He absolutely loves the family-friendly environment and admires how fast the festival is actually growing in the city. John said, “I love this city, what can I say? Every year when the festival takes place I take my kids and wife down to see the awesome mermaid floats.” John has been taking his kids to the festival since 2018 and it’s become a small tradition for the family to do every year. Even though his children are in college now they make the trip from out of town to make sure and be there for the parade! John said,” It really means a lot to me that my kids still come back from college for this parade. I know it doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but to me, it means the world.” John also stated he planned to hopefully participate in the parade one year saying he had a few float ideas that he’s drawn up.
The Mermaid parade continues to become a more popular event to attend and it’s begun to catch the eyes of people that aren’t even living near or in San Marcos. Allen Gould has heard about the festival for many years now, but it wasn’t till this year did he find himself driving down from Austin to be in attendance. Allen said, “It was really a last-second decision, a few of my friends and I were looking for something to do over the weekend and happened to stumble across a flyer online that was advertising the parade.” They drove down from Austin to attend the festival and Allen couldn’t stop praising how fun the parade actually was. From people dressing up in mermaid costumes to people just laughing having a good time at the parade, this festival brings joy and happiness to the community. The Mermaid Festival and parade are only beginning to grow bigger and bigger.
The hype around this festival has even reached cities outside of San Marcos. Many families travel from other cities and sometimes states to be in attendance for the festival. This creates a mashup of different cultures which adds to San Marcos’s already diverse community.
This festival doesn’t just bring the attention of families in but also brings in many of San Marcos’s students from high school all the way to college graduates. A student at Texas State University that just attended the festival was very pleased and loved the environment.
Hannah Teague is a junior attending Texas State University. Growing up in the small town of Krum, Texas there weren’t many fun things to do. Hannah said “Growing up there weren’t many things going on in Krum. I grew up on a small ranch so mermaids and parades weren’t very common.” Moving down to San Marcos, Texas Hannah instantly fell in love with the city and the environment that was here “I absolutely loved moving to San Marcos, it helped me find who I am as a person and a student. The first big event I attended was actually the mermaid festival.” This is Hannah’s 3rd year attending the parade and plans to continue to be in attendance for years to come.
Other than the festival and parade, the city of San Marcos hosts many other fun events each month for you and the family to enjoy! These include art festivals, concerts, game nights, and many other fun events for all ages.
Make sure to check the dates in September for the next annual mermaid festival. You won’t want to miss this one, it’s going to be even bigger and better than the years before!