For the second year in a row, merfolk from around the world will converge on the Greensboro Aquatic Center for a three-day celebration of swimming, workshops and fellowship from January 20-22. Last year’s event hosted approximately 300 mermaids from places as far away as France, England and Canada. It drew a large amount of media, including special segments on CNN and USA Today. This year’s attendance number is projected to be even higher.
The convention utilizes the diving well pool at the GAC for leisure swimming as well as underwater photography and videography. Workshops are scheduled to be held both in the meeting facilities of the GAC which will include subjects such as underwater posing, merwrangling, aqua yoga and more.
This year, the convention is thrilled to welcome Philo Barnhart as the special guest. Mr. Barnhart is the animator of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast” as well as numerous other animated films. He will be meeting with guests all weekend and speaking on the Expert Panel on Sunday at 3:45. The convention will also feature Mermaid Kariel, a pioneer in the industry who performs with her team of mermaids around the world.
One of the most popular segments of last year’s convention that returns this year is the children’s programming; “Swimming and Storytime with a Mermaid.” This is a ticketed event open to the public in which children can spend time learning about the ocean and learning to swim like merfolk. Trained professionals will read stories of the ocean with a special focus on conservation. Finally, NC MerMania’s signature event is to be the “Fathoms Below” ball which will be held at the Sheraton Four Seasons Ballroom, the convention’s host hotel.
Merfolk, men and women who don swimmable fish tails, are a highly popular sub-segment of the cosplay community.
“Mermaiding” as the hobby is called, has been around for decades but has recently been trending in popularity due to increased media coverage and viral articles on social media. Combining athletic swimming skills, creativity and a passion for conservation to inspire people through fantasy, hundreds of men and women now work as “professional mermaids” around the world. Typical work includes entertaining children, teaching mermaid swim schools and fitness classes, and educating the next generation on the ocean and its creatures. It is a lucrative and competitive field that has attracted a very diverse following. Merfolk come in all shapes, sizes, races and fin colors. The convention’s aim is to bring people together who are interested in this unique hobby to share knowledge, resources and friendship. Open to both professional merfolk as well as those just starting out, there is something for everyone, including vendors of mermaid related gear and accessories.
“NC MerMania was borne of a simple concept, a gathering of merfolk to swim together in friendship. A place where anyone with a tail would gather to feel welcome and that is the spirit that guides our efforts. It has grown beyond my wildest expectations into an event that garnered international media attention and an explosion of interest in this hobby. I am thrilled that Greensboro North Carolina can be the hub of this event,” explained Daniel Craig, NC MerMania founder.
For more information, please visit www.ncmermania.com.