What started in 2018 out as a quest to break the world record for the largest gathering in the world of people dressed as mermaids has turned into an annual festival in South Haven.
Now entering its fourth year, Mermaid MegaFest, will be returning to this lakeshore community, but under a new name – MerFest International.
The three-event is scheduled Friday-Sunday, Aug. 20-22 at Lake Arvesta Farms Sports Complex, 06464 Arvesta Drive, three miles east of South Haven.
With the new name comes expanded events and activities. Not only will people see mermaids and mermen in Lake Arvesta’s lakes and specialty viewing tanks, they will also get to hear music performances, see a drone light show, peruse craft booths and enjoy food from vendors.
The festival isn’t just about entertainment, however. The other purpose is to inform people about the importance of protecting bodies of water, such as the Great Lakes, as well as offering workshops for people interested in learning more about the mermaid movement. Ecological- and mermaid-related activities during the festival include a beach clean from noon-3 p.m. at South Beach, mermaid certification courses and a mermaid modeling workshop.
Aqua Performance Group of Stevensville is coordinating the three-day event along with Circus Siren Entertainment and Starlight Aerial Productions.
This is the third year Lake Arvesta Farms will be hosting the mermaid festival. Owner Brian deBest thinks the festival fits in well with the water-related activities offered at the complex.
“Our venue is perfect to bring the family to for a great day of fun with wakeboarding, inflatable obstacle courses, water slides and beach area all around,” deBest said. “Now we add hundreds of mermaids and vendors for an exciting weekend.”
deBest has taken an interest in the festival since it started. In 2019, he built a large, transportable viewing tank for the festival enabling viewers to see several mermaids at once swimming in the water. The tank, dubbed as the tallest travel mermaid tank in North America, will be on display – complete with mermaids swimming inside – during this year’s festival. Constructed of two-inch Lexicon glass, the 7,800-gallon tank also has a heat and filtration system.
For a daily schedule of events for MerFest International and to purchase tickets for admission to the festival and its events, visit www.merfestinternational.com