Tuesday, January 30, 2024

A Flamingo in Leominster, Massachusetts for Weathervane Wednesday

 This weathervane was photographed in Leominster, Massachusetts. 

While traveling on Route 2 in central Massachusetts we stopped at a visitor center and found this delightful flamingo weathervane.  I knew immediately that we were in the town of Leominster because of this weathervane.  Growing up in central Massachusetts in the 1960s and 1970s, every kid knew that those plastic, pink lawn flamingos were made in Leominster!  

Leominster was known as the Plastic City.  Many plastic products were produced there, not just pink flamingos!  The artist Don Featherstone created the first pink flamingo in 1957, and had his design manufactured by Union Products in Leominster.  It immediately became a pop culture hit.  In 1996 Featherstone won an Ig Nobel Prize for Art. Union Products closed in 2006, and the molds were purchased by a factory in New York who still sells them.  Factories in Leominster manufactured Foster Grant sunglasses, Tupperware, toys, and other plastic items. 

Plastic, pink flamingos were despised and also beloved by homeowners. Some believed that if a neighbor put out a pink flamingo then their own home would lose value. Others embraced the kitsch, and put out flocks of flamingos.  Leominster has made the pink flamingo part of it's local history, just like Johnny Appleseed, who was born in Leominster in 1774. Every June 23rd "Pink Flamingo Day" is celebrated in Leominster at Monument Square, by proclamation from the city hall.   

It's too bad that this two dimensional weathervane is gilded in gold instead of painted pink.  

For the truly curious:

Wikipedia "Plastic Flamingo":   

Yankee Magazine "Last of the Leominster Pink Flamingos":  

Smithsonian Magazine "The Tacky History of the Pink Flamingo"    

A previous blog post about Leominster's Johnny Appleseed:   

Click here to see over 500 more Weathervane Wednesday posts! 


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Flamingo in Leominster, Massachusetts for Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 30, 2024, ( accessed [access date]). 

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