In 1999, Norfolk was undergoing a revitalization, and it was suggested to the city council that Norfolk institute a program similar to Chicago’s “Cows on Parade”. When Norfolk’s Mermaids swam onto the scene, her job was to brighten and polish the perception of a city with a revitalized downtown for residents and tourists. Local bronze sculptor Kevin Gallup mass-produced 130 mermaid castings for artists to decorate. Business and community leaders from Norfolk and beyond adopted mermaids at $2,000 apiece, and they were auctioned off at a Mermaids on Parade event. Today, mermaids are everywhere in Norfolk: throughout downtown, in front of businesses, building lobbys, schoolyards, hospitals and some in homeowners’ yards. Every mermaid is different, frequently depicting messaging relevant to their location. The mermaid on the Naval base is evidently in uniform! I’ve (Nancy) been hunting them since our arrival in November, as I’ve wandered around Norfolk. There’s even a mermaid spotting map online! Check it out at Norfolk.gov.
Here are a few of the Norfolk mermaids to enjoy!