Will the Pink Flamingo Make it to 50?

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The plastic, pink flamingo. Where would we be without cheesy lawn art built almost exclusively for Floridians and practical jokers? Lost, I tell you, LOST! Unfortunately, it looks like that could happen now that the plant that manufactures them is closing!!! NO!!!

Union Products Inc. stopped producing flamingos and other lawn ornaments at its Leominster factory in June, and is going out of business Nov. 1 — a victim of rising expenses for plastic resin and electricity, as well financing problems.

The small privately held firm has been in talks with a pair of rival lawn ornament makers interested in buying the molds and resuming production of the flamingos, designed in 1957 by local son Don Featherstone.

“We think the flamingo will go on,” Keith Marshall, Union Products’ chief financial officer, said at the company’s aging brick factory, where just a few years ago more than 100 employees churned out flamingos by the millions.

Just a couple workers were still around to wrap up business. At the front desk stood a lone flamingo with the words “Happy 50th birthday” written with a black marker on the side, symbolizing hope that the flamingo will rise phoenix-like from the ashes to be reborn.

Other companies’ knockoff versions of the Featherstone original remain in production. But the uncertainty surrounding the original has aficionados of kitsch snapping up what they can via the online auction site eBay and elsewhere in case Featherstone versions go out of stock for good.

This is a travesty. It’s a sham, a mockery. It’s a traveshamockery!!! We must save the pink flamingo or we must die trying.

God save the plastic pink flamingo.

Photo Pink Flamingos by peter_e_lee.

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