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Bert’s annual Parade of Mermaids attracts record number of entries

February 28, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Bert's Parade of Mermaids made a big splash in Matlacha on Friday, Feb. 9, with a record-breaking 42 "mer" costume entries.

Mer-people compete for prizes with hundreds of celebrants from around Southwest Florida looking on. The event raised money for Helping Paws Pine Island Pet Sanctuary.

Food and beverages, donated by Bert's Bar and Seafood Grill, were enjoyed by those who donated to the cause. Raffle tickets were sold and donated items raffled off, including a painted bench valued at $400. The bench was donated by Diane Maher.

Article Photos

Some of the mer-people contestants in the contests, Cassandra Lamar, Julie Rae, Phoebe, Poseidon Mike, Kristina Kayatta and Katlyn Bandemer.

Photo provided

Musical entertainment was provided by The Brothers VanKirk (Warren and Gregory), a.k.a. Strange Arrangement. The brothers donated their fee to the Monday Night Music Outreach at the Pine Island Community Church.

The esteemed judges, Robert N. Macomber, Leoma Lovegrove and Mel Meo, had no trouble awarding the "Most Creative" prize to a pair of rare "conjoined twin merman and mermaid," played by Dick Grimes and Cheryl Moffat.

Best Merman was a bit more difficult, with the prize going to Adam Sawicki. Best Child Mermaid was a tie between returning merkids Stella Skorupski and "Sophia Ariel." First Place Mermaid was also a tie with Emma Lewis and Julie Rae sharing the title.

Marnie Miszewski of Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary gratefully received a check for $1,000 from Deborah Cole, parade organizer and general manager at Bert's Pinebay Gallery.

"That's amazing!" Miszewski said. "Thank you so much! This will help us so much to improve the life for the animals in our care."



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