BLOG: Elmer’s Big Parade bows out in style

It’s a wrap! Elmer’s Big Parade – Devon’s biggest public art event of 2019 – is coming to an end, but the mammoth mob is not going quietly. In fact, there’s an ele-fantastic Farewell Weekend in store for the whole family to enjoy.

Having spread a huge smile across iconic locations in Plymouth for ten weeks this summer, the sculpture trail featuring 40 colourful, individually painted elephants – each sponsored by a local business – is set for a big ‘farewell’ celebration before trunks are packed and the elephants prepare to be auctioned off in aid of St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth.

From Friday 4 to Sunday 6 October, Herd HQ in the former Toys R Us building at Western Approach will throw open its doors to welcome people keen to see the hefty herd all together under one roof, where they can get a close-up look at the unique designs created by talented artists, including internationally renowned painter Brian Pollard.

Not only will they see the fabulous 40 who’ve enchanted the tens of thousands of visitors out on foot around Plymouth, they’ll also meet the 25 marvellous mini Elmers painted by children at local schools where St Luke’s works together with staff as part of its Compassionate Schools programme, which tackles the taboo topics of death, dying and life-limiting illness in an age-appropriate way and enhances support for bereaved children.

The event – which is ticketed – is a great opportunity for those who may not have had the chance to follow the trail, or those who want to see their favourite sculptures again. It’s also a chance for those who’ve already seen the stunning designs to invite family and friends to visit the city and share the fun experience with them.

Adrian Carey, Project Manager for Elmer’s Big Parade, said: “We have been blown away by the success of Elmer’s Big Parade, which has been one of the most popular trails the city has ever seen.

“Seeing so many families out discovering the sculptures has been heart-warming and we’re pleased to have provided them with a free, fun activity that also highlighted the vital end of life care St Luke’s provides. Our Farewell Weekend is an exciting opportunity to see all the sculptures together, take photographs and – if they’d like – snap up Elmer merchandise. We look forward to welcoming them to Herd HQ!”

With demand for places expected to be high, everyone who purchases a ticket will be allocated a one-hour session at Herd HQ. Tickets are priced £5 each for adults and £3 for under-16s, with free entry for children under two. Opening times are: Friday 4 October: 12 – 7pm, Saturday 5 October: 9am – 7pm, and Sunday 6 October: 9am – 4pm. The first session of each day is reserved for families of children and adults with autism or related conditions who might require more comfort. This ‘quiet session’ will feature subdued lighting and low music and have minimal noise. These times are restricted to 100 people and may also suit wheelchair users.

To find out more about the Farewell Weekend, please visit the Elmer’s Big Parade website.

Purchase your tickets here.