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Meet Weeki Wachee mermaids, Highwaymen at Floridiana Festival

St. Petersburg resident and original mermaid Bonnie Georgiadis, 79, pictured on this postcard, will be at the Floridiana Festival.

Hula Hula Productions

St. Petersburg resident and original mermaid Bonnie Georgiadis, 79, pictured on this postcard, will be at the Floridiana Festival.

ST. PETERSBURG — Nothing says kitschy Florida like vintage souvenirs and Weeki Wachee mermaids.

Throw in original Highwaymen paintings and you have the Floridiana Festival and Highwaymen Artist Show.

The 11th festival will be held Saturday at the Garden Club of St. Petersburg, its second appearance there. In January, the event, which had been traditionally held at the Gulfport Casino, will move to the Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.

"I like to move it around because people like to go to different historic locations in the area," said event promoter Annette Vedsegaard-Ross, owner of Hula Hula Productions.

"People are really into it. Attendance is up. Having the mermaids is a big draw," she said.

Two of the original mermaids who live in St. Petersburg, Dianne Wyatt McDonald, 81, and Bonnie Georgiadis, 79, will be at the show along with more contemporary ones to answer questions about life as a mermaid, she said.

"They're just as fun as they were back in the heyday of this popular underwater playground," Vedsegaard-Ross said.

Also at the show will be eight of the 18 still-living Highwaymen — there were originally 26 — who will have paintings for sale and stories to share.

IF YOU GO

Floridiana Festival and Highwaymen Artist Show

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at the Garden Club of St. Petersburg, 500 Sunset Drive S. $6; $3 for children under 3.

Noon: Author Lu Vickers will talk about her most recent book, Cypress Gardens: America's Tropical Wonderland.

2 p.m.: Meet the mermaids as Vickers discusses her book Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids: A History of One of Florida's Oldest Roadside Attractions.

Meet Weeki Wachee mermaids, Highwaymen at Floridiana Festival 11/01/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 1:24pm]
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