Located in the heart of North Carolina, NC Merfolk is a fun loving group that convenes and hosts an annual celebration, called Merfest, which is a costumed celebration of the mythological mermaids.
In folklore and mythological stories, a mermaid is depicted around the world as an aquatic creature with the head and trunk of a beautiful woman with long flowing golden hair and the tail of a fish. According to the legends, while the mermaids are sometimes associated with disastrous incidents like floods, storms, shipwrecks and drownings, they can also be benevolent or beneficial, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans. The male counterpart of the mermaid is the merman, though traditional stories about the mermen are much less than those of the mermaids.
In recent centuries, the mermaids have been a popular subject of art and literature. The famous fairy tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson is based on a mermaid. The bronze mermaid, atop a water-locked rock at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, has become an iconic landmark of the city. Apart from that, the mermaids have been depicted in many operas, paintings, books, films and comics.
NC Merfolk, a fun loving group of mermaids and mermen in North Carolina, comprising about eight to ten local people, is considered a part of a larger network of thousands of professional mermaids. The members of the group swim together three times a week at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, to learn the ways of mermaiding for entertainment, performances, photography and more.
The group also convenes and hosts an annual celebration, called Merfest, which is a costumed celebration of the mythological mermaids, where mermaids and mermen of all ages and from all corners of the country gather together at the Triangle Aquatic Center to learn the art and the techniques of mermaiding, mainly for self satisfaction and perform to entertain others.
During the celebration, workshops are arranged by NC Maerfolk at the Aquatic Center, where the attenders take classes on underwater modelling, give training to hold breath and provide the opportunity to swim with Hannah Fraser, a professional mermaid and environmental activist. In fact, the event is for die-hard Merfolk, who are ready to spend up to US$4000 on their colourful tails, which can be made to feel as close to fish scales as possible. Putting on a tail is not an easy task and requires a lot of effort.
Naturally, most of the Merfolk have a Mertender, usually a spouse or a friend, to assist them to put on and take off their tails at the poolside. However, apart from helping their own mermaid or merman, the mertenders often help others, mainly by using a lubricant. Other than the tail, some enthusiasts also decorate themselves with wigs, tiaras and of course the eye-catching classic shell bra.
However, that is not all. To support the sea turtles on the coast of North Carolina, as well as for other environmental causes, NC Merfolk donates a good portion of the proceeds that they earn from the festival.