Weeki Wachee Springs is auditioning mermaids for its team of underwater performers. Tony Spitz has the details.
When it comes to hiring a Weeki Wachee mermaid, tradition comes last. A traditional job interview, that is.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park will hold auditions Jan. 13 for what it hopes will be several new additions to its world-famous mermaid squad. Currently, the squad has 17 performing mermaids and three princes.
The Weeki Wachee mermaids perform underwater year-round in 72-degree spring water from the head of the Weeki Wachee river. The mermaid show debuted on Oct. 13, 1947, in the theater built of limestone and submerged six feet below the spring’s surface.
The park expects at least 50 women to come for the first, and most physically demanding, part of the audition.
“It’s not easy what they do, and a lot of girls find that out (during the audition),” said John Athanason, public relations manager for the park.
On the first audition day, aspiring mermaids must complete a timed, 300-yard endurance swim, where they swim both with and against the water’s current. If they finish that successfully, candidates must tread water for 10 to 15 minutes.