Clearwater Beach's Pier 60 Park was lined with 50 highly-decorated dolphin statues for the Republican National Convention. Then they scattered to the offices and businesses of local sponsors.
"We dismantled the exhibit in early September and then our phone at the Chamber kept ringing off the hook with people that wanted more dolphins," said Anita Treiser, who oversees the project for the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Friday, Treiser greeted the arrival of 30 more six-foot tall fiberglass statues, primed white like blank canvasses. Treiser said 15 more are already on back-order and the total could eventually surpass 100.
Each will be uniquely transformed by local artists. Cathe Bain painted one for a local business before the RNC, and purchased three of the new arrivals to offer still unidentified clients.
"I've done a lot of murals, so I've done a lot of painting on surfaces and this was new: to paint on a 3-D surface is a different kind of thing," Bain said. "But lots of fun, really enjoyable."
Several Clearwater Beach business now feature RNC dolphins, including the new Pier House Hotel. It even has a nickname.
"They love Chuck," said front desk clerk Sarah Schwartz, referring to hotel guests.
Chuck is plastered largely with what appear to be old Florida post cards.
"They love the colors, they love how it's a collage, how it's all put together," Schwartz said. "That's the first thing they usually notice."
The same artist who created Chuck will now do it again for another hotel under the same ownership.
"It'll be more greens to match the grassy green the Holiday Inn uses on their logo," artist John Schunck said.
The Clearwater Chamber has created a Google map to guide visitors to various dolphin statues. As the new arrivals go on public display, they will be added to the map. They all have tails, despite the obvious connection to Clearwater's most-famous celebrity: Winter, star of the motion picture "Dolphin Tale". Winter, who lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, has become a major magnet for the local tourism industry.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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