Mermaid attraction draws thousands

The latest attraction at the Arizona Renaissance Festival is making waves, with thousands of people lining up to check out the new living mermaid show.

- The latest attraction at the Arizona Renaissance Festival is making waves, with thousands of people lining up to check out the new living mermaid show.

The fairy tale creatures come to life, and spectators can get an up close look as they swim underwater.

It's the only place in the state where you can take your family to see living mermaids up close, swimming in a 6,000-gallon water tank. Being a mermaid is no fairy tale, it can be a tough job, and these women work their tails off.

When you're a living mermaid, the salt water tank is your office, and your uniform is a 40-pound tail made of silicon.

"It fits like a second skin, it really does feel like having mermaid skin on," said Kathy Gfeller.

Kathy Gfellar is one of four mermaids features at the show.

"It is a lot of fun, but it is a lot of effort, I don't know how the dolphins do it," said Annie Ethington.

Unlike the mythical creatures, these sirens don't have the ability to breathe underwater.

They practice by holding their breath for long periods of time, keeping their eyes open, and smiling and waving. And of course perfecting their poses.

"By the end of it, it is a little exhausting, you're just like ok, hold your breath, lets go," said Ethington.

During the show, the mermaids switch out the tank every 45 minutes while another sits in her shell throne meeting and greeting the kids at the festival.

"To come in and see a live mermaid underwater, to come and meet a mermaid and have your photo taken with her, I remember dreaming of that when I was a little girl, and now those dreams are coming true," said Gfeller.

Living mermaids are becoming more popular with a subculture popping up across the United States. There was recently a mermaid convention held in North Carolina that had 200 attendees. 


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