Mermaid swims into American Celebration

JoEllen Black/Executive Editor

Erika O’Shea probably has one of the world’s only jobs where she gets carried in to work each day by a pirate.

O’Shea, who’s originally from Lawrence and lives in Kansas City, has been performing as the Heartland Mermaid for about four years, and has worked as a performing artist for a decade.

Because her job requires a mermaid outfit – with, you know, a tail and fluke instead of legs – she can’t walk to her stage (which is typically a pool), so a pirate carries her in. “For long distances, he’ll use my cart,” she says matter-of-factly.

She’ll appear Friday at Richmond’s American Celebration, swimming with people during the free swim from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and also coming out of the pool for photos from 6:30 to 7:30.

O’Shea – who went to the University of Kansas and also has a master’s degree of business administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City – started her mermaid career at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. “I started out as queen of the fairies, and princesses, and one year they needed a mermaid.”

The complete version of this story appears in the Tuesday, June 26, 2018, print edition of The Richmond News.

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