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(photo courtesy Mermaid Society SMTX)

Not every community can fondly recall the good ol’ days when mermaids would swim and play in the local waters, but San Marcos can. Between the 1950s and the 1990s, San Marcos was home to Aquarena Springs, one of Texas’ most popular theme parks featuring a submerged theater where the “Aquamaids” performed graceful underwater dances and other playful antics. Though the theme park is long gone, memories of the city’s thriving mermaid culture live through a new festival Sept. 2–17, SMTX Mermaid Splash. With a series of family activities, social events, and educational forums on a variety of San Marcos topics, this second annual fete is as much a party for the beautiful San Marcos River as it is an affirmation of the local community and the mermaids who work to protect it. The 16-day festival wraps up with its three biggest events—the Mermaid Society Ball on Sept. 15 and the Mermaid Parade and Aqua Faire on Sept. 16.

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