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Get Your Mermaid Tail Trail Passport

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This summer, both residents and visitors to Hernando County are on the trail of mermaids. Thanks to a special mermaid tail trail passport, they can win some fabulous prizes.

Destination Mermaids—The Tail Trail project is co-sponsored by Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau, Brooksville Main Street, and the Hernando County Fine Arts Council. A colorful coterie of life-sized mermaid statues line The Tail Trail, launched to mark the 75th Anniversary of Weeki Wachee Springs. The first phase of the Tail Trail consists of 27 life-sized mermaids on display, mainly throughout Hernando County at the local businesses and agencies that have agreed to sponsor and display these 80-pound statues, standing 6’8″ tall and 32” in diameter and 54″ across. Since the painting and placement of the statues began last year and the trail was unveiled, trail visitors have traveled by car and foot to admire and take photos with every mermaid. And now, as they venture forth to explore the trail and ‘meet the mermaids,’ they can download a passport to guide their way, qualifying for points and prizes in the process.

“The Visitors Bureau engaged with Bandwango, a provider of digital passports, to create a passport for The Mermaid Tale Trail,” said Tammy Heon, Director of Hernando County Tourist Development and Manager, Tourism Development of Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville-Weeki Wachee. “It’s free to sign up, and there are no apps to download. Upon signing up, the user can access the list of mermaids and their destinations. They are encouraged to check in at each Mermaid and hopefully take a selfie to post. Checking in earns them points. When they earn enough points, they can redeem their points for prizes.”

These prizes, said Heon, take the form of creative and original representations of the Tail Trail mermaids and their artists.”In typical Florida’s Adventure Coast fashion, we created all the prizes for the trail,” said Heon. “Lee Middleton created a postcard of one of his whimsical mermaids. The remaining prizes were created by Shannon Craig (formerly Werner) and myself. Shannon drew all of the artwork we used for prizes, some of which I then colored with Photoshop. A magnet with our logo features a representative drawing of the statues. A sticker sheet that features mermaids and manatees, an activity book that includes colorful pictures, fun mazes, and word games. I’m very proud of Shannon and her talents; she allowed us to create prizes that are unique to The Mermaid Tale Trail.”

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And there’s more to come! “Of course, as we add new mermaids to the trail, we’ll update the passport with additional points and prizes,” said Heon.

So this summer, as friends and family members, residents and tourists traverse the Tail Trail, they’ll win the chance to take away priceless mementos of the experience.

Beyond the Destination Mermaid Tail Trail, Florida’s Adventure Coast plans additional passport programs centered around the many exciting attractions found throughout Hernando County.

“The Bandwango product allows us to create multiple passports,” said Heon. Our next one will be for the Kegs, Casks, and Corks tour of breweries and distilleries in Hernando County.”

To access and learn more about the Destination Mermaid Tail Trail, visit https://floridamermaidtrail.com/. For more about the mermaid trail passports, visit https://tinyurl.com/3w7vjt3t.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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