Lions to party in San Marco Square

Lions to party in San Marco Square
The three lions in San Marco Square (Photo by Mark Krancer)

It’s party time! It’s been 21 years since San Marco held a carnevale to celebrate the installation of the Lions Fountain in Balis Park, and a community birthday party is being planned to celebrate San Marco’s favorite felines.

On Saturday, October 13, the San Marco Preservation Society (SMPS) is joining with the San Marco Merchants Association (SMMA) in organizing festivities that will take place in the center of San Marco Square.

“The lions are coming of age, and we are going to play with that a little bit,” said SMPS President Bryan Mickler. “We are hopefully going to sing them happy birthday and have a fun time in the Square.”

On April 18, 1997, the three lions were unveiled during a festive carnevale in which San Marco resident Zim Boulos was crowned king, recalled Robin Robinson, a SMPS board member. 

The regal statues had been individually donated to the community by T. Wayne and Kitty Davis, Lori Boyer in memory of her late husband, Ronald J. Nemeyer, and Bonita Boyd and James (Jimmy) Boyd in honor of their parents, said Rob Smith, a SMPS board member.

“The lions have really brought St. Mark’s to San Marco Square,” said Robinson.

Concerned about the condition of the community landmark as it nears its coming-of-age milestone, the San Marco Preservation Society recently hired restoration experts from Atlanta to give the big cats a check-up, Robinson said. “We found out that the lions are not going to disintegrate. They are here to stay,” she said.

“Thanks to Robin’s work, we have a survey – a snapshot – of where they are at right now,” said Mickler, noting the society was given the choice of continuing to have them sport a green patina look or restoring them to the pristine condition they were in the day they were installed.

“I won’t bore you about hot wax, but there is one way to restore them that would require annual maintenance,” he said, noting SMPS opted instead for a more conservative maintenance schedule. “It’s a different level. It’s like owning an old boat that has teak. If you want the teak to look nice, you have to hit it every year. Or, you can just have gray-looking teak and that’s fine, too.”

Regardless, the majestic lions, who dress up for every occasion, will be gussied up royally for their big day. “We dress them up for everything, but this time it will be something extra special,” said Robinson.


By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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