Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mermaid Returns to the Water for the Last Time

The news today had a lovely article celebrating the life of one of Weeki Wachee's mermaids, Frances Gioe, who died May 15 at the age of 77. Her ashes will be scattered by her family today at Weeki Wachee, returning this remarkable lady to the place where she began a lifelong career as a performer and aquatic dancer.

The year the park opened in 1947,16-year-old Frances Gioe became one of the first Weeki Wachee mermaids. Her talent for aquatic dance led to movie roles in Esther Williams movies and in the TV series Flipper. She performed in Paris for the Moulin Rouge. Retiring in Florida, she created a synchronized swim team for seniors called the Aqua Belles.

Regular Native Mom readers know of my love and devotion to Weeki Wachee. I was thrilled to learn this week that these iconic Florida performers are currently completing a tour of London.
This marks the first time the Weeki Wachee mermaids have appeared outside the United States. These talented ladies are performing this week at the Sea Life London Aquarium. You can see a video of their performance in London here. Notice how the British broadcaster refers to the ladies as Weeki Wacky mermaids.

Whoever thought of sending the mermaids on a world tour is a genius!


Barbara said...

Great post! I have always been fascinated with Weeki Watchi but never been there. Now that I'm back in Florida, I will definitely be going.

Shellbelle said...

Loving tribute to one of our lovely mermaids. I had no idea they were on tour, how exciting!

Stop by if you get a chance today (Monday the 24th), I mentioned you in my post and I want you to see how you inspired me.

Brenda Dillon said...

I came upon this blog as I was looking into my husbands Family for a scapebook I am making for him. My Husband is Fran's grandson Aaron Dillon. I was wondering if you may know where I can get more info or articles as well as pictures so I can add to his scapebook. I have gotten some things from Aaron's Father Barry (Fran's son), but was hoping to collect up some more things for him. So it can be pasted down to our 3 boys. If you know of any more pictures, ect.. I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks, Brenda