By Rachel Wilford
King Triton is returning for the annual Ocean Festival Mermaid Parade on Sunday, July 16, at 9 a.m. Ed Howie has played the role of King Triton in the parade since 2007.
Howie, who also dresses up as Santa Claus for house parties and corporate events, was unable to be part of last year’s Mermaid Parade because he attended a Santa Claus convention in Missouri with 800 of his Santa brothers.
Howie is looking forward to diving back into his King Triton role for this year’s parade, which will begin at the Youth Pavilion and end at the San Clemente Pier. The parade will be led by Howie and two mermaids played by returning performers Kelly Garrett, 16, and Kelley Green, 17.
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This will be Garrett’s third year being a mermaid in the parade. She is a junior at the Orange County School of the Arts and she also works as a party performer for children’s parties after school. Garrett’s acting experience has prepared her for her mermaid role in the parade.
“The kids really think you’re the real deal,” Garrett said. “They always say that it’s the best day ever because they got to meet a real mermaid. It’s the cutest.”
Green got her feet wet last year during her first performance as a mermaid and will be returning this year for her second time. The San Juan Hills High School senior has been involved in the Youth Pavilion since she was 8 years old. Green loves acting and entertaining, and she said the Mermaid Parade to be a rewarding experience.
Howie, Garrett and Green all make their costumes for the parade by hand. Howie has been using the same seashell crown and gold trident that he created for his very first appearance in the Ocean Festival 10 years ago.
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“Everybody loves seeing King Triton on the beach,” Howie said. “I love seeing the kids so happy and they love seeing me and taking pictures with me every year.”
King Triton and the mermaids are looking forward to making many children smile during this year’s Mermaid Parade.