Mermaids — nah — merpeople are about to take over Tybee Island in a pride-filled twist to the kick-off of summer. Friday evening and all day Saturday, March 23 and 24, locations throughout the island will be crawling with live music, parties, beach games and all things mer-related in the first Mermaid Fest.

Savannah PRIDE, the organizers of Savannah’s annual LGBTQ Pride Festival, announced the Mermaid Fest as a way to keep the LGBTQ community interested and engaged.

“Savannah PRIDE attracts people from all over the world for our annual Pride Festival during the Halloween weekend,” said Rich Walczak, one of the organizers of the event. “Mermaid Fest is a chance to show that Savannah is a year-round LGBTQ destination, where five miles of beaches are only 20 minutes away from an historic downtown.”

Mermaid Fest will officially open the Tybee Island beach season and is expected to draw thousands to the area. The organization plans to make it an annual event.

The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. March 23 with an opening night party at Coco’s Sunset Grill. From noon to 6 p.m. March 24, be entertained by The Christy Alan Band, independent artist Shemuwel and drag superstar Lupita Velvet at the Tybee Pier & Pavilion. A photo booth, costume contest, games in the sand, and appearances by the area’s most magical merfolk, including Blixunami, the Geechie merman, and Coralia, Savannah’s hometown mermaid, will also add to the festive spirit. The event is family friendly during the day and open to the public all weekend.

The evening brings added revelry with the Tybrisa Twirl, a local bar crawl, and the Mermaid Fest After Party at Huc-A-Poo's Bites & Booze.

Savannah Pride continues to be a cultural staple here in Savannah through education and liberation. They stand as a community that celebrates both equality and sea-faring creatures. Their latest endeavor invites all to join in the cause by having a little fun in the sun. Half-human-half-fish, whole human, doesn’t matter. Inside, we’re all the same, mostly.