Plucky giant chicken finds new roost in Riverside

Plucky giant chicken finds new roost in Riverside
Snacker takes flight from Hemming Park to transportation to her new home in Riverside.

Snacker has a new home, her fourth in the past seven years, but this one is her forever home.

The giant orange chicken recently flew the coop from Hemming Park, where she has been on display since April 2016, staring at park visitors and passers-by from between her scrawny chicken legs when she wasn’t gawking at the white cone she laid.

After a three-year gestation, Snacker, the creation of Riverside sculpture artist Lana Shuttleworth, was born in Los Angeles in 2010, and first delighted crowds at the Armory Center for the Arts in North Pasadena, California, then spent four years perched along the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles before traveling across the country to go on display at OneSpark 2016.

Hemming Park lost its most recent quirky work of art when Snacker, a giant orange chicken, found a new home.

Hemming Park lost its most recent quirky work of art when Snacker, a giant orange chicken, found a new home.

Having overstayed her intended display in Hemming Park by six months, Snacker needed to find her final nesting place before the beginning of April. On March 9, City of Jacksonville Public Works and Hemming Park employees carefully hoisted the 600-pound, 8-foot-tall bird out of a fountain and onto a flatbed trailer.

A last-minute discovery that the trailer was not wide enough to keep Snacker upright for the trip to her new roost in Riverside required the hefty hen to indignantly make the three-mile journey on her back. After some overdue repairwork, Snacker will reside in the front yard of Wayne Wood’s 1914 Prairie-style home, where she is sure to draw the attention of residents and visitors on Riverside Avenue. It’s not every day one sees a giant chicken made of recycled orange traffic safety cones in the neighborhood.

Since Wood’s home sits right in the heart of historic Riverside, he applied for a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission, which granted it Jan. 25.

“The Giant Chicken is the only piece of yard art that I am aware of that has been given a COA in the Riverside Avondale Historic District,” said Wood, whose yard was once graced by a 17-foot-tall tipi (teepee) made 16 years ago by Wood’s brother, Darry Wood, a widely recognized builder of quality tipis. “The tipi received a COA under the provision for temporary structures, not as yard art. Temporary structures may be erected for no more than 30 days per year, not more than 10 days consecutively, and must meet certain size and setback requirements,” said Wood.

The Hemming Park fountain where Snacker was most recently on display has also been the site for Sergeant Quackers, a giant yellow rubber duck for OneSpark 2013; Colonel Crackers, an oversized replica of a Goldfish cracker for OneSpark2014, and the Shark in the Park, an open-jawed shark for OneSpark 2015. All three sculptures were created by students of Dr. Jenny Hager, associate professor of sculpture at the University of North Florida, and commissioned by Wood.

“We are looking forward to having new sculptures in the park in months to come,” said Wood, founder and board president of Friends of Hemming Park.

When asked what might be in store next for the fountain, the City’s Chief of Recreation and Community Programming, Keith Meyerl, said with a laugh, “I’d like to see a jumbo shrimp in there.”

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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