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Mermaid Kate Dale on Purple Sofa Float in 2008 Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mermaid Kate Dale on Purple Sofa Float in 2008 Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When I spotted this fabulous purple sofa in the staging area minus its mermaid at last year’s parade, I just knew it belonged to Kate Dale. I’m pretty sure Kate has won Best Mermaid more than any other mermaid in the parade’s history. She once won for her elaborate Girl on A Swing float inspired by a painting by Fragonard. Kate graciously took a few minutes from ongoing preparations for tomorrow’s parade for a quick Q & A. ATZ can’t wait to see what Kate and her crew have created for 2009! Oh, and best of luck to all of you last minute mermaids…

Q: Are you still head of the costume department at Juilliard?

A: I am the Prop Shop Supervisor at Juilliard, I’ve done so since 1990.

Q: Is it true that you won Best Mermaid more than any other mermaid in the parade’s history?

A: I have won Best Mermaid 3 times. I do not know if some one else has won more. There are a few good ones who’ve been in the game as long as I have. I have also won best float twice.

Q: What were some of your costumes and floats in the parade?

A: Sea turtle, hot air balloon with Gibson girl mermaid, giant silver coin, space mermaid, origami mermaid

Q: Which ones won Best Mermaid?

A: I won Best Mermaid first in 96 in a walking costume with a bustle style tail, 2000 in a Fragonard inspired swing and 2005 in the hot air balloon. My Best Float Winners were the space mermaid waterspeeder in 02 and the silver anniversary coin in 07. The ones that should have won were the champagne bottle in 02 (in a downpour) and the lobster car in 97, but I’m not bitter.

Q: How many hours or days do you and your friends typically spend in preparation?

A: Lots, though we’re dialing it back these days. It’s down to a 2 week build.

Q: Do you have any tips for last minute mermaids?

A: Get away from the computer and back to work!!!!!

2009 Mermaid Parade is Saturday, June 20th, 2PM! Rain or Shine!

UPDATE: If you’re curious to see Kate’s float in the 2009 parade, here’s my photo on flickr. This lovely “push pull float” was pulled by a team of clowns. Congrats to Kate and her crew!

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June 16, 2011: Last Chance to See Mermaid Parade Before It Turns 30!

January 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

July 6, 2009: Q & A with Zoltar: Coney Island Mermaid Parade’s Best Fortunetelling Float!

June 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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