When tall ships parade into L.A. Harbor in San Pedro this month, expect to see an enormous, inflatable Rubber Duck in the lead. The piece by artist Florentijn Hofman will visit the West Coast for the first time to kick off the Tallships Festival LA 2014.
The sculpture has been a cultural hit since it debuted as the world's largest rubber duck in 2007. Hofman has created several of them in various sizes and they have sailed the world, visiting China, Hong Kong, New Zealand and even Pittsburgh, Pa.
Its creator says this duck comes in peace. "The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn’t discriminate people and doesn’t have a political connotation," Hofman says of his inflatable artwork.
Each location builds its own duck, a tall ships festival spokesman said via email. The one in San Pedro will be about six stories high. And let's hope it'll be smooth sailing.
Last month the Rubber Duck touring China was swept away by rains and floods, and another famously burst during a visit to Taiwan earlier this year.
L.A.'s duck will lead the Parade of Sail at 2 p.m. Aug. 20. After they arrive in L.A. Harbor, more than a dozen tall ships will be on display to visitors through Aug. 24. Tickets are available to go on daylong sails too. And there will be food, entertainment and performances along the waterfront during the five-day festival.
The battleships USS Iowa and the SS Lane Victory also will be open for tours as part of the festival. A five-day pass to step on board the ships costs $19 per person; day sail trips cost $85 per person.