2017 Mermaid Art Ball attendees sport their mermaid-inspired couture while swinging on a trapeze hoop. Daily Record file photos
2019 Mermaid Art Ball
The Fourth annual Mermaid Society Art Ball is just around the corner and the Mermaid Society SMTX is already gearing up to pack the night with sights, sounds and tastes to entice all the senses.
The Mermaid Society Art Ball is the premier event of the SPLASH Festival – SPLASH standing for stewardship, preservation, local, arts, sustainability and heritage. This private gala event will take place at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment – the historic grounds of the Aquarena Springs Resort, the original home of the Aquamaids and home to the headwaters of the San Marcos River.
Mermaid Society founder July Moreno said the grounds of the Meadows Center were chosen to host the annual event not only for their historic ties to San Marcos with the Aquarena Springs Resort and the headwaters of the San Marcos River, but also because of the important research and stewardship resources that now stem from the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.
The last vestiges of Aquarena Springs Resort were removed in 2012, when they hoisted the 467-ton underwater theatre from the San Marcos River Headwaters, in an effort to restore the historic area — that remains, according to fossil records, to be one of the oldest continually inhabited locations on the continent — to its original, pristine condition.
The Mermaid Society Art Ball will spark the historic grounds to life with starry rooftop views, sunset glassbottom boat rides, live music, dancing, dining, cocktails and live art performances throughout the night.
Mermaid Art Ball attendees enjoy a ride across Spring Lake during sunset on the glass bottom boats.
The Mermaid Art Ball is the culmination of celebrating the arts and culture of San Marcos, and as such attendees tend to incorporate the arts into their couture — everything from mermaid-inspired headdresses and crowns to scale-like embellishments on full-length gowns and suit jackets can be seen.
Moreno said she wanted the Mermaid Art Ball to be different from a typical gala; less stodgy ballgowns and scheduled programs and more of a living, breathing art experience that the attendees can take part in.
“This is the one evening that you can be super creative and elegant at the same time,” Moreno said. “This is to encourage and celebrate that creative part in all of us, no matter what it might be. And it’s designed to be the polar opposite of everything you would expect to see at a gala; it’s not a program, it’s a flow of unique surprises and experiences. This is designed to be a place where you can see and be seen; you can experience it but you can also be a part of that experience.”
The Mermaid Society has designed the night to be an immersion into the arts with live performances and exhibitions throughout the night. And the performances change every year – from real mermaids in tanks in 2016 and aerial acrobats performers in 2017 to belly dance performances in 2018. This year, according to Moreno, the Mermaid Society is looking to keep the surprises rolling.
“The Art Ball is designed to be a unique event. It’s designed to bring together community and it’s designed to be art. The entire experience — everything from the food that you eat, the drinks that you have and the live art you experience that evening — is all special and not something that is duplicated year after year,” Moreno said. “Everything about this event, from start to finish, is meant to be an experience. We want people to come and to expect the unexpected.”
The Porch’s “Ralph and the Sweet 69” was a Mer-tini Shakedown finalist at the 2017 Mermaid Art Ball.
This year’s Mermaid Art Ball includes a pop-up film screening by the San Marcos Cinema Club, a paper fashion show by artists Karen Cross and Margaret Faletta, bellydance performances by local instructor Jamie Lynn Shelton, a fantasy body art exhibit and an end of the night light projection augmented reality presentation by OMAi global artist collective. Moreno said there may be some additional surprise art exhibits throughout the night as well.
Aside from the art performances, there will be live music by Roxy Roca, the Mer-tini Shakedown finalists will be competing on the rooftop of the Meadows Center during the ball and providing their signature cocktails for free throughout the night. Root Cellar will be catering a brand new menu and Dripping Springs Distilling will be providing the spirits for the event, alongside local brewery AquaBrew and wine bar Patio Dolcetto.
The Mermaid Society Art Ball is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 20 from 7-11:30 p.m.. Tickets are on sale online. Tickets are $125 and cover all food, drinks and entertainment throughout the night. Event sponsorships are also available online starting at $500 with an offering of extra perks. The Mermaid Art Ball has been a sold-out event every year. The deadline to buy tickets is Aug. 15.