Medieval Fair show makes autistic teenager’s dream reality

For the first four years of Sierra’s life she didn’t speak a word.

Her autism kept her disengaged from the world around her, until, that is, the tiny girl with wispy blond hair saw the mermaids at the Norman Medieval Fair. The sight of the mermaids drew out her first words: “The magic.”

And from then on out, the mermaids became her lifeline that kept her tethered to reality.

“She was mesmerized,” Ginna, Sierra’s mother, said. “And after that it wasn’t very hard to get her to talk, so mermaids really are the magic.”

Since seeing the mermaids at the show Sierra’s infatuation with the mythical creatures grew, expanding to movies, such as Aquamarine and The Little Mermaid, and increasing her knowledge on the subject. For example, mermaids can transform into humans, speak every language and are half human and half fish, she said.

Now, as a teenager with pink streaks in her hair, Sierra is ready to be a mermaid herself.

“I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid since I was four years old,” Sierra said.

Angela Mullens, co-owner of FoxMoon Productions, a company that creates mermaid tails and puts on these magical performances, created a pink tail for Sierra to use while she sits on the ship and poses for pictures. Mullens loves bringing this folklore to life and was more than happy to make it happen not only for festival-goers but Sierra as well, Mullens said.

But for now, while the production is still in the works, the mermaids haven’t arrived quite yet.

“The mermaids come later when everything is set up,” Mullens said.

Sierra is still excited, regardless, showing it in her own quiet way and her mother is just thrilled that her daughter has found something that brings her joy in this world.

A family tradition has always been to get a glass blown animal made at the Medieval Fair each year and Ginna knows just what she’ll get made this year.

“I think this year I’m going to get a mermaid that looks just like you,[Sierra],” she said.

And that makes Sierra smile.

Sierra waves FoxMoon Productions’s flag while aboard the ship she will pose on as a mermaid that weekend. Sierra is a teenager with autism who will get to be a mermaid at the 2017 Medieval Fair.


*Sierra and Ginna’s last names were asked not to be used to protect Sierra’s privacy since she is on the spectrum and does not understand the rights she has in an interview.