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Hail Summer! King Neptune Returning to Venice

The second Neptune Festival celebrating this summer solstice is going to be held Saturday at Venice Beach.

The second Neptune Festival celebrating the summer solstice will be held Saturday on Venice Beach and the honor of King Neptune has been bestowed on a local performer who was recently reunited with his long-lost dog.

The inaugural event was held last summer and it's being brought back with the help of Danny's Venice, Miss Jessica and Their Most Serene & Purple Majesty The Windward Krewe. The 2012 Neptune Festival will kick-off at 3 p.m. on the beach west of Windward Avenue.

To honor the reunion story of Austin – the famous "Fly N Lion" of Venice Beach – with his owner Johnny Mitchell, also of The Windward Krewe, organizers have tapped Mitchell to be King. Mitchell was recently reunited with little Austin, who disappeared from Venice in December 2010.

Friends and supporters have started the "Fly N Lion Fly-In Fund" to help defray Mitchell's expenses since he had to fly in from Louisiana where he was caring for his mother. Donations may be made via PayPal at: FlyNLion.com.

The Neptune Festival, an old tradition in Venice very popular during the 30's & 40's, was revived last year with Venice fitness local Dave Frison, known admiringly as "The Body", serving as King Neptune. Miss Jessica, the sultry and soulful lead vocalist of Miss Jessica and The Sugar Shack Attack, served as his Queen.

The royal couple emerged from the Pacific Ocean near the Venice breakwater and were met by excited locals and their drum beating escorts, Their Most Serene & Purple Majesty The Windward Krewe. Krewe members, festooned in their signature purple tuxedo tailcoats, beat a royal rhythm with a lively chant, "Hail The King, Hail Summer, Hail Venice, Hell Yea!!"

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