In the coastal community of Seabrook, giant pelicans have been generating attention since 2001. Not actual water birds — although they often are cruising the skies — but colorful fiberglass statues, exhibited throughout town as 6-foot-tall reminders that this is a bayside community that takes pride in its mascot, the white pelican.
Each pelican is painted by a different artist and represents a theme. There’s a sailor pelican, a sheriff pelican and an angler. Visitors to the city often pose with the pelicans for souvenirs. Throughout the city, 36 such pelicans are exhibited, some in plain view along NASA Road 1, others more hidden within the small neighborhoods of the old town.
The Seabrook Pelican Path Project is the brainchild of Marcy Fryday and Cheri Smith, Seabrook residents who wanted to give their community more of an identity.
The Pelican Path project was launched and hosted by the Seabrook Merchant and Tourism Association 12 years ago. Pelicans were sponsored by local businesses for advertisement or simple beautification and artists donated their time and talent to make each bird an individual masterpiece.
If a sponsor business closes or moves, pelicans find a new home at Pelican Park, on the grounds of Seabrook Community House, 1210 Anders St.
Currently, the second phase of the project is underway, where old birds are restored and new ones created.
The Pelican Path project is similar to the “Cow Parade” concept, which began in 1999 and has brought painted fiberglass cows to more than 50 cities worldwide in order to exhibit art in a different way and give exposure to local artists. Austin hosted the cows in 2011. Johannesburg in South Africa adopted the idea and now displays fiberglass rhinos. It’s only natural for Seabrook to host this lovely squadron of our beloved feathered friends.
Artists interested in participating or helping to restore pelicans should call Fryday at 281-474-2511.
A map of all the pelicans, their names and the businesses sponsoring them can be obtained at the Bay Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 913 N. Meyer Road. For information about the bureau, call 281-474-9700.