Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lucky Duck!

Times are strange in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are awful, the Pirates are in the playoffs for the first time since 1992, and there is a 40-foot tall inflatable rubber duck moored at the confluence of Pittsburgh's three rivers. Dave and I took a drive downtown Monday morning to get a close-up view of the ducky.

All of Pittsburgh has gone ducky! As we drove through downtown, there was a duck to be sighted in almost every store front window. 

The rubber duck is here as part of Pittsburgh's International Festival of Firsts. According to their official website, the four-week long festival serves as the debut for international artists unveiling works never before seen in the United States. 

The rubber duck project began in 2007 by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, who has placed giant rubber duckies in cities such as Amsterdam and Sydney. For the duck's first American debut, the artist picked Pittsburgh, even though many other big cities, notably San Francisco, were vying for the duck. 

Pittsburgh couldn't be happier to be hosting the duck, who is clearly bringing a giant dose of fun to the city. 

Residents and business owners are in agreement that the goliath duck is a "lucky duck" and point to the Pirates as evidence. The arrival of the duck coincided with the Pirates winning their wild-card game and entering the playoffs for the first time in more than two decades. 

The Pirates had a home game Monday afternoon, and the energy in the city was absolutely palpable. Everything seemed to be vibrating with excitement. It was great to be around so many enthusiastic fans who have been waiting so long to see their team in the playoffs. 

We talked to one fan, John, who travelled from Ohio to catch the game. He wasn't alone; people seemed to be pouring into the city from all over for the special occasion. 

PNC Park looked especially nice with all the good energy in the air. 

We walked along the river to find the lucky duck. 

The duck was adorable! It was great to see so much joy on the faces of everyone around the duck. 

We have love for Pittsburgh's rubber duck! 

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's merchandise for the ducky was selling like hotcakes. In fact, over half of their inventory was sold out. Dave got me a ducky t-shirt, and we got two duck stickers, one of which is already on the van. How could we resist? 

Pittsburgh's duck residents seemed right at home with their much larger cousin. 

We wish Mr. Duck could stay forever, but for now, we'll be happy he shared his star power, happy energy, and his good luck with the city of Pittsburgh. Thanks Duck!


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