Splash Media

WTSP Channel 10

Date: July 7, 2017
Category: News

Tampa Bay Area Treasure: Weeki Wachee mermaids focus of new documentary, Vogue spread

With a new documentary and magazine spread, the iconic Weeki Wachee mermaids are in the national spotlight this summer.

Starting decades before Walt Disney World opened, Hernando County has provided a home to “the only city of live mermaids.” Since their first show on Oct. 13, 1947, the mermaids have performed for Elvis Presley, swimming legend Esther Williams and “Andy Griffith Show” actor Don Knotts. Florida’s own Jimmy Buffett featured them in his live show.

Buffett’s daughter Delaney is behind that short documentary, which premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

The intrigue surrounding this “Old Florida” show is nothing new. In 1971 Clairol featured the mermaids in an advertisement. Decades later Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie auditioned to become mermaids for an episode of “The Simple Life.” Vogue, the New York Times and National Geographic have profiled this Tampa Bay area treasure.

The mermaids have performed throughout the US and the world. “We get to go to aquariums. We’re traveling,” Kristy Madden said. “We’re meeting people.”

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