BEARDED & SHUCKED #4
4-SKINS & MER-KINS: 4th ANNUAL MERMAID PARADE IN THE DESERT
HORNS OF CYPRESS, JOSHUA TREE, CA 2020
performance
with Brent Holmes, Karla Lagunas, Danielle Hildeman, Casey Sheppard, 
Gayle Austin, Mikayla Whitmore, Karen Miller +
in conjunction with PRIDE, Joshua Tree
photos by Casey Sheppard (Case of the Nomads)
I first stumbled upon the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island back in 1999 - a dear friend must have introduced me, yet I forget because what I found residing there, on the beaches glimmering with broken bottles, used tampons and syringes, I called home! 
 
The cross section of people celebrating at The Mermaid Parade greatly enhanced my feeling of acceptance in this world. I had found home! I had found a place and time where the only attitude that was not accepted was bringing any remnant of divisiveness to Surf Avenue. We would ride The Cyclone with new mer-friends. We would brave the murky Atlantic with new mer-friends. We would drink and celebrate with every single person around us with compliments galore and love a-plenty. We were queers, of all skin colors of the rainbow, artists of all backgrounds, blue collar workers alongside lawyers alongside homeless and unemployed, burlesque performers, children, locals and tourists... these are the people who continue to attend The Mermaid Parade in CI and these are the people who attend Bearded & Shucked in JT.
 
Thus, this is an extended celebration of the acceptance of all. We may be seen as freaks of society. We embrace our freakdom rather as being radiantly beautiful mystical creatures; we are mermaids. This is the reason The Mermaid Parade exists. This is the reason Bearded & Shucked exists.

-Aaron Sheppard