Weeki Wachee Springs State Park will see more potential mermaids at auditions next week than ever before, park officials said Wednesday.
The park moved the audition start time from 4:30 p.m. to 10 a.m. after news of openings on the world-famous mermaid squad went viral.
"We have to move it up, or there is no way we will get it done," said John Athanason, public relations manager for the park. "People will be swimming in the dark."
Nearly 100 women have signed up for the Jan. 13 audition, the first and most physically-demanding portion of the three-part tryout. The park had anticipated 50 applicants only a few weeks ago.
The Weeki Wachee mermaids perform underwater year-round in 72-degree spring water from the head of the Weeki Wachee River. The mermaid show debuted on Oct. 13, 1947, in the theater built of limestone and submerged six feet below the spring’s surface.
Soon after the Tampa Bay Times published a story about auditions, Athanason received calls from news outlets across the country asking about what they said was a "dream" job.
Some potential-mermaids will come from out of state. On Wednesday, Athanason spoke with a woman who will drive from Atlanta.
The park hopes to add several new mermaids to the group. Currently, there are 17 performing mermaids and three princes.
"We just hope everybody that comes has a good time with it and gets plenty of rest the night before," Athanason said. "Bring some patience and a towel." Candidates also need a completed application, resume and head shot.
Weeki Wachee mermaid pay starts at $10 an hour, and mermaids must be able to work at least four days a week. Candidates must be at least 18 and must reserve an audition spot by emailing [email protected] by Jan. 11.
Contact TyLisa C. Johnson at [email protected]tampabay.com. Follow @tylisajohnson.