Sunday, June 23, 2013

Happy Pink Flamingo Day!

Did you know that June 23 is Pink Flamingo Day? Pink Flamingo Day was declared in 2007 by Dean Mazzaralla, the mayor of Leominster, MA to honor the work of Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic lawn flamingo. Featherstone sculpted these pink flamingos in 1957 while working for Union Products, Inc. (in Leominster). Based on National Geographic images, the now iconic pink plastic yard ornaments went on the market in 1958, when the color pink was all the rage and Florida was touted as the ultimate tourist destination and paradise for retirement living.  

 
Who knew these whimsical little birds would cause such a stir... they have gone on to represent everything from bad taste to scandalous rebellion, in part due to an outrageous 1972 movie titled Pink Flamingos, by John Waters. Today, plastic pink flamingos are even used in "Flamingo Flocking Fundraisers" where organizations flock the yards of their supporters with roughly 20-50 flamingos and demand donations in exchange for their removal.
 
Featherstone was awarded the 1996 Ig Nobel Art Prize for his creation of the pink flamingo, and he also began his tenure as president of Union Products which he held until he retired in 2000.

Union Products closed in 2006, and the Flamingo stopped being produced. Yet shortly thereafter, a New York-based company purchased the molds for Featherstone's flamingos and sub-contracted production to Cado Products. In 2010, Cado Products purchased the copyrights and plastic molds for the pink flamingos and continues to manufacture them.
 

Want to add a little pink Florida fun to your life? Original Don Featherstone signed flamingos can be purchased for $17.73 a pair through Amazon. Featherstone began inscribing his name on the original molds in 1987 to differentiate them from the knockoffs. Today, all authentic reproductions made have his signature molded into them.
 

 

And if you want to learn more about this controversial plastic bird's history, Featherstone has written a book, "The Original Pink Flamingos: Splendor on the Grass," also available through Amazon. Or click here to read an intriguing article about the pink plastic flamingo and the flamingo's symbolic relationship to The Sunshine State.  
 
What are your thoughts on the plastic pink flamingo? I personally had no idea they had such a questionable reputation!
 

I would totally use pink plastic flamingos in a centerpiece à la Dana Small's fabulous "Flamingle" party! 

4 comments:

  1. Very clever post. I actually saw that bizarre movie about 30 years ago and am still baffled by it's cult following.

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  2. Who knew they had such a history?! So much fun! And I can't believe a pair is only $17! Happy Pink Flamingo Day to you, too!

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  3. I've seen November 11 as Flamingo Day. I wonder, can you confirm the date?

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    Replies
    1. According to Wikipedia, today's National Flamingo Day represents all the flamingos lost in the Vietnamese war in 1950... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamingo June 23 represents the plastic variety. Thank you for the heads up!

      XOXO,
      The Glam Pad

      Delete

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