Gifts from the sea — friends of freak show offer fabulous prizes to Kickstarter contributors

…Kickstarter and Coney Island oddballs are a match made in weirdo heaven.

Story by Will Bredderman - Source:
Photo ©Tom Callan

The last mermaids? Last year’s Memaid Parade may be the last ever unless founder Dick Zigun can’t raise $100,000 in less than two months. Photo ©Tom Callan

Friends are throwing a lifeline to this floundering mermaid.

Sideshows by the Seashore founder Dick Zigun needs to raise $100,000 before his annual Mermaid Parade can ride down Surf Avenue for the 31st time on June 22 — and so his freaky friends are offering sweet swag to those who contribute to his upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

Hurricane Sandy swamped Zigun’s headquarters at the corner of Surf Avenue and W. 12th, forcing him to sink thousands into rebuilding the famous freak house. That left him with precious little to sponsor the yearly cavalcade of costumed Coney carousers.

Photo ©Stefano Giovannini

Rosemary Di Pietra was there to wish the parade a happy 30th birthday last year, but the pageant may not have a 31st if fans don’t contribute. Photo ©Stefano Giovannini

So Zigun — who raised $4,000 for his reconstruction work through the crowdfunding site earlier this year — is turning to the Internet for assistance. The Yale-man-turned-carnival-barker said Kickstarter and Coney Island oddballs are a match made in weirdo heaven.

“That’s the way the people of Brooklyn, the whackos of New York City, people who care about alternative culture across America, that is how they contribute to things,” Zigun said.

The online fund-raising campaign launches May 6 — and high-profile friends of the Parade are offering one-of-a-kind prizes to contributors.

The rewards include prints by Harvey Stein, award-winning photographer and creator of the photo book “Coney Island: 40 Years,” and special edition posters from graphic artists Frank Kozik — known for designing album covers for Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Melvins — and Martin Mazorra. Some donors will even get to step into the Great Fredini’s Coney Island Scan-a-Rama — a three-dimensional scanner-printer that measures a person’s dimensions and creates a statuette in their image.

Photo ©Stefano Giovannini

Beached mermaid: By contributing to Dick Zigun’s Kickstarter campaign, you’ll keep beautiful creatures like Khahlindra Levister from disappearing from Coney Island — and get some sweet rewards. Photo ©Stefano Giovannini

Zigun will also give out temporary tattoos, t-shirts, posters, “mermaid” swimming lessons, the chance to join parade floats, and VIP seating at the event.

Fans of the eccentric pageant will be able to give anywhere from $10 to the full $100,000, though the parade’s planning team have yet to decide which donation levels will get which prizes.

It’s an ambitious plan, but Zigun and his team are sure they will succeed.

“If everyone who went to the parade last year donated a dollar, we’d be fine,” said parade development director Tim Pendrell. “Kickstarter is a very grassroots way of fund-raising, and that’s the kind of parade we have.”


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