Mary Grecco, aka Mermaid Rose, entertains at Adi Boccio's fifth birthday party...

Mary Grecco, aka Mermaid Rose, entertains at Adi Boccio's fifth birthday party in Selden. Credit: Phyllis Boccio

Adi Boccio got a huge surprise when the guests at her 5th birthday party finished whacking a piñata on her Selden front lawn and returned to the backyard to continue with her swim party: A mermaid was waiting in the pool.

“She swam with me and she gave me a seashell to wear in the water in my hair,” says Adi. “It was really, really fun and exciting.”

Mary Grecco — a Centereach teacher’s aide who goes by Mermaid Rose — will come to a child’s birthday party and do fin flips, go underwater to blow kisses at the kids, and lead them in pool games. It’s the first summer that she’s doing birthday parties, sometimes being hired directly and other times through Adrenaline Entertainment of Plainview. The price ranges from $100 to $175.

While other mermaid characters will attend birthday parties on the land, Grecco, 27, arrives with an assistant who carries her into the water once she has put on her red mermaid tail. Typically, parents will hire her as a surprise addition to a pool party, she says. “I like to give mermaid rides; kids hold my shoulders while I swim in the pool,” she says.

Heidi Ortiz, 37, a paralegal from Selden, calls Grecco’s appearance at her daughter Ariana’s 7th birthday in July “phenomenal.”

“She answered all their questions with a smile, from ‘How did you get here?’ to ‘How does your makeup not run in the water?’ She came up with this elaborate story of how the pipes in the pool lead to Atlantis,” Ortiz says. 

Adi’s mom, Phyllis, 33, a nurse, says Mermaid Rose was entertaining for the adults as well. “How many times do you go to a party and there’s a mermaid in the pool?” she says.