Tucson’s downtown desert motif makes way for underwater enchantment this Saturday, Aug. 10, with Return of the Mermaids 2019.

The annual event, an homage to all things mermaid lore, stretches from the northern reaches of the North Fourth Avenue business district to the Martin Luther King apartment building, downtown, where the main festivities are set to take place on the man-made beach just beyond its front doors.

The free mermaid bash, dubbed the Deep Blue Downtown, 50 N. Fifth Ave., runs from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will feature all manner of mer-friendly events, including a mer-childrens’ sidewalk parade, a pageant, a market selling everything from comic books to dolls and photo opportunities with mermaids hailing from Tucson and across the country. Ever meet a mermaid from Nebraska? Now is your chance.

The big family-friendly event along North Fourth Avenue will be the Tiny Treasure Hunt, where the first 200 kids who show up to Silver Sea Jewelry, 330 N. Fourth Ave., starting at 3 p.m. can pick up a map and treasure sack. Children will use the map to visit participating businesses, including Pop-Cycle and the Chocolate Iguana, for free loot. They can then return to Silver Sea for a treasure commemorating the event.

Those looking for more adult-oriented pursuits with mermaid twists have several options to choose from. Both Bison Witches, 326 N. Fourth Ave., and The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., have under the sea-themed events planned. Public Brewhouse, located the next street over at 209 N. Hoff Ave., will be serving a selection of mermaid-inspired glitter beer.

Irene’s Holy Donuts, the recently opened doughnut shop/night-time hot spot at 340 N. Fourth Ave., will be hosting the Return of the Mermaids late-night after-party from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The soiree, free to attend, will include sets from The Surfbroads surf rock band, a performance from the IllumiNaughty tribal fusion dance troupe, and beats from DJ Nation.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@tucson.com or 573-4679.


Gerald received his journalism degree from the University of Maryland. He has been with the Star for 16 years and has covered a variety of beats. Currently, he divides his time between the presentation desk and as a member of the digital team.