The hot press of flesh and glitter on Brooklyn’s sandy shore. Guide to New York Leah Frances tags in with her contribution to Field Assignment #4 - Folk festivals, Pageants, Celebrations, and Customs:

Originating in 1983, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade takes place every June at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, usually on the Saturday closest to the official start of summer. Billed as the nation’s largest art parade, it pays tribute to the Mardi Gras-type pageantry regularly in evidence on the boardwalk in the beginning of the 20th century. Consisting of marchers in hand-made costumes, push-pull and motorized floats, and antique cars, the parade showcases over 1,500 creative individuals and brings out hundreds of thousands of spectators.

The 2014 Mermaid Parade will be held Saturday, June 21st.

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Leah Frances was born in a small fishing village off the west coast of Canada and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. In pursuit of a graphic design career she moved to New York City in 2005 and now calls Crown Heights, Brooklyn, home. Leah posts daily at


  Hi birdies~

  I don’t have anything really special so I’ll post some ASDF Movies’ MMD videos made by me for you … Well.

  Bye, birdies~


2P!Japan : aga4

Pochi : Kpoem

Effect used : S5BaseShader

Audio : ASDF Movie 8 by TomSka



Small town charm from under big skies - Montanan Chris LaTray checks in with a dispatch for Field Assignment #4 - Folk Festivals, Pageants, Celebrations and Customs:

These images were all taken at The Old West Autumn Fest at Opportunity Ranch in Frenchtown, MT, on Saturday, Sept. 28. This is an event that has pony rides, games for kids, hay rides, and various exhibits from local organizations like the Volunteer Fire Department, Montana Back Country Horsemen, etc. The event benefits Opportunity Resources (, an organization that helps support over 500 adults with disabilities. Opportunity Resources maintains a factory in Missoula where they build picnic tables, benches, and provide simple services for other local businesses as well (product packaging, document shredding, etc.). The ranch produces beef, turkeys, and eggs, which also generate income.

Frenchtown is a small town about fifteen miles west of Missoula. I have a direct connection, as I attended K-12 there, and have recently moved back to the area. Visiting the festival was just one of the little missions I’ve undertaken just to re-familiarize myself with where I grew up.

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Chris LaTray is a writer, photographer, and wannabe adventurer. His freelance writing and/or photography has appeared in the Missoula Independent, the Missoulian, Vintage Guitar magazine, and World Explorer magazine. His short fiction has appeared at Beat to a Pulp; Pulp Modern; the Crimefactory special edition, Kung Fu Factory; and Noir at the Bar, among others. His story “Run for the Roses” was the winner of the 2011 Watery Graves Invitational story competition, while his story “Genny Bow” won the 2012 Watery Graves Invitational story competition as well. He lives and travels from Missoula, MT.

Follow him on Tumblr at and visit his website at



Melissa Haney opened her AG Week Field Manual to Field Assignment #4: Folk Festivals, Pageants, Celebrations and Customs for her dispatch on the New Jersey summer ritual of hitting the road and heading to Long Beach Island. She writes: 

Parkway South to Exit 63 and it’s there. Eighteen miles long, no wider than a mile at any point, Long Beach Island (LBI) sits off the coast of southern New Jersey waiting patiently each year for the barrage of summer inhabitants that take over its shores for three all-too-short sun-filled months. Drive down Long Beach Boulevard at the strictly enforced speed limit of 35mph and LBI assumes the identity of nearly any other Shore town. Mini-golf courses, ice cream shops and pancake houses on nearly every corner, kids too young to drive riding bikes on the sidewalk, grey-shingled homes with pebble cover driveways and nautical-themed mailboxes down the block.

But LBI is different. Maybe I say that because for twenty-one years, my entire extended family has crossed the one bridge that connects the island to the mainland every summer. Yet, I honestly think it’s more so because LBI hides some unique treasures. Take, for example, the classic red-and-white Barnagat Lighthouse that stands at the northern most tip of the island, its bright yellow light scanning over the Atlantic. Or Fantasy Island, a small, welcoming theme park with bumper cars, fair games and an illuminated ferris wheel with views at the top spanning as far as Atlantic City. 

And then, of course, there’s the beach. A far cry from the pristine white-sand beaches and calm waters of the Florida gulf or any Hawaiian island, the coastline of LBI nonetheless provides a particular version of paradise. The sound of waves crashing, seagulls calling and maybe even a little bit of Springsteen playing on a stereo someplace far away. The beaches of LBI provide a distinctly beautiful escape, something only found down the shore. 

Most of all, there’s the spirit. Too cheesy? Maybe, but such an acknowledgement is integral when considering the perfectness of the place. A positive energy has always flowed through the Island, but following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, LBI solidified its strength and optimism. Nearly every part of the Island was effected by the near-biblical floods and gale-force winds. By June 2013, most everything went back to normal. Along the boulevard, a few more houses were lifted up on stilts, demarcations of flood lines appeared in nearly every souvenir shop and café, serving as a constant reminder of the storm damage. But the spirit was still the same. Sandy changed a lot, but she couldn’t wipe away the intangible feeling that makes Long Beach Island the greatest spot on the shore. 

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Melissa Haney is New Jersey made and currently a student at Barnard College. Follow on Tumblr at