TAMPA — The 21-foot flamingo sculpture at Tampa International Airport needs no introduction. Subject to endless selfies ever since its arrival this summer, it’s already become a beloved mascot for travelers passing through the airport’s main terminal.
This feathered friend, however, does need an identity. The airport announced a naming contest for its massive resin and fiberglass sculpture Monday.
Artist Matthew Mazzotta did title his sculpture when he unveiled his jumbo creation. The piece, commissioned for $520,000, is called “Home.” According to a news release posted by the airport, Mazzotta and the airport agreed that the character itself could use a nickname.
Aside from big, pink bragging rights, the grand prize includes:
- Four nonstop, roundtrip tickets for the winner and three companions on Silver Airways.
- A VIP experience package at Busch Gardens, which comes with four single-day admission tickets, four dining passes, four Quick Queue Unlimited passes and preferred parking.
- A chance to fla-mingle with fame at a reveal event.
The contest runs through Dec. 6. To enter and view contest details, visit NameTheFlamingo.com. Contest participants must explain the reason why they chose their submission. Think carefully — each entrant only gets one shot.
A committee of five people from the airport will select three finalists, and then the public will have a chance to vote starting Dec. 12 at the same website. By Dec. 16, the winner will be revealed.
As of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, over 4,000 names had been submitted, said Veronica Cintron, the airport’s vice president of communications.
The airport isn’t surprised by the response.
“Just go over and hang out in the terminal for 10 minutes,” said Chris Minner, executive vice president and lead of the airport’s art committee. “You’re gonna see an endless stream of people coming over of all ages — little kids hugging the beak, adults giving it a big hug before they take off or upon their arrival.”
“It’s just it’s so impactful, so immersive, so interactive,” he continued. “Coming up with a name just seemed like the most natural next step.”
May the best bird name win.