Feathered Fun

  • David Ginisi

On Sunday, February 2, TV news shows will be replete with reports — some serious, some downright silly — about Puxatawny Phil and his shadow.

Did he see it? Did he not? Why do we care?

Groundhog Day is, of course, a fairly unreliable predictor of the arrival of spring. If Phil sees his shadow on this day, the theory goes, winter will hang around; if he doesn’t, spring is right around the corner. Maybe.

Reliable or not, it’s a fun and festive event — if you like furry critters that drive gardeners crazy.

Forget the groundhog, says Leominster Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella. Who needs a furball that lives in a hole in the ground, when North Central Massachusetts has its own iconic animal?

Bring out the plastic pink flamingo!

Yes, the flamingo was created in 1957 right here in Leominster by Donald Featherstone, a designer for local manufacturer Union Products. The flamboyant bird has been a popular lawn ornament for years, and gained a new generation of fans a decade ago when he became a character (named, appropriately, Featherstone) in a Disney film, Gnomeo and Juliet.

On January 31st, the mayor will bundle up against the winter chill, and ceremoniously carry Featherstone into Monument Park on Main Street. There, he’ll plant the bird’s wiry legs in the soil — or snow. And if the elegant icon casts a shadow, you’ll know (or at least hope) that spring is on its way.

Story by: Pat Gale