I had the opportunity to visit the Dominican Republic last month for vacation. It sure was an experience I’ll never forget. I even got the chance to swim with a shark and stingrays.
One afternoon during our trip we went into town to go shopping giving us the perfect opportunity to pick up a few souvenirs. As we went from shop to shop one store held my attention. In this store were four shelves of decorative cows. Yes, decorative cows; this country girl was in heaven.
I stood there for 20 minutes admiring the cows and taking pictures of them. Each cow was different and painted in bright colors or boasted creative themes.
I eventually left the little souvenir shop and continued to browse around the mall. However, my mind kept wandering back to those cows. I decided to go back to that shop and purchase a cow. It took me another 45 minutes to select the perfect cow. I wanted a cow that represented my trip to the Dominican Republic so I selected a tropical themed cow.
I found out that these cows are figurines based off of a public art event called the CowParade. After some research I now know the story behind these beautiful cows.
According to the CowParade’s website, CowParade started in 1999 and events have since been staged in 79 cities around the world including New York City, London, Tokyo, Brussels, Hong Kong and the parade will head to Shanghai this month. It is estimated that 250 million people have seen these famous cows displayed around the world.
The fiberglass cows are painted by local artists and displayed for two to four months and then are auctioned off for charity. Their website states that $30 million has been raised for charities including Texas Children’s Hospital, Special Olympics and University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital.
According to the CowParade on why they use cows as their canvas, “Simply, the cow is a universally beloved animal. The cow represents different things to different people around the world – she’s sacred, she’s historical, she connects us to our past – but the common feeling is one of affection. There is something magical about the cow that transcends throughout the world. She simply makes everyone smile.”
Smile, indeed I do every time I see my beautiful bovine sitting in my living room. If you want one of these unique cow figurines you can purchase one online for about half of the price I paid in the Dominican Republic.