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The Cow Parade Story

By Jeffrey Rolo

The Cow Parade marches on from the windy city of Chicago to the remote Isle of Man across the ocean! But you won't find dairy farmers herding these bovines, nor will the air be filled with the scent of manure and a cacophony of mooing, because the life-sized cows being displayed in this parade are crafted of fiberglass.

Although Cow Parade originated in 1999 in the city of Chicago, the public art project was actually inspired by a similar event kicked off in Zurich, Switzerland in 1998. Cow Parade serves two purposes:

bulletShowcase a variety of beautiful art projects for the public at large.
bulletEarn money for local charities through the sale of the cows once the Cow Parade has concluded.

Corporations will generally sponsor some of these cows, and then a variety of artists ranging from professionals to children will paint their own unique patterns on the fiberglass bovines. Truly a wide diversity of artists raises to the challenge after each call, including Federico Castelluccio who played Furio Giunta, the handsome Mafioso, on the Sopranos.

The Chicago run of the Cow Parade earned a whopping 3 million dollars for local charities, followed by almost 1.5 million dollars during the 2000 New York run of the parade. But that was only the start of a project that's still going strong today.

Multiple major cities within the U.S. went on to embrace the Cow Parade on their own streets, ranging from Portland, Oregon to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but it would be a mistake to think this was solely an American project. London, England and Sydney, Australia are just two of the many foreign countries and cities that have sponsored the parade, and plenty of others are slated to debut their own artistic renditions throughout 2005.

While there are many different types of public art projects of this nature, such as the Trail of Painted Ponies and GuitarMania, the Cow Parade is arguably the largest and most widespread of them all. It's almost mind-blowing how many American cities and foreign countries have anxiously jumped on this bandwagon.

Art collectors are now able to experience the fun of the Cow Parade in their own homes, because small ceramic and resin replicas of a good portion of the works displayed across the world have been created and offered to the public by Westland Giftware. If you're looking for that novel gift for someone close to you, or are looking to spice up your own figurine collection, make sure you check out our Cow Parade Galleries. Just be warned demand for these unique figurines is humungous, so they tend to sell out fast.

Drop by our cow parade galleries to view and/or purchase these unique and extremely popular collectibles:

bulletCow Parade Figurines
bulletCow Parade Water Globes

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