Shoppers and visitors to Broadmead and Cabot Circus in Bristol over the school Easter holidays should prepare to be wowed by a flock of flamboyant flamingos, each beautifully and individually decorated by local youngsters and displayed in shop windows throughout the area.
Bristol’s annual Easter Trail – organised for the seventh consecutive year by the Ark Project, in partnership with The New Room and retailers from The Shopping Quarter – features a different beast every year.
This year’s trail will be the largest so far, featuring 52 flamingos which are currently in various stages of decoration in schools and youth centres around the Bristol area.
The Ark Project has provided each participating school or group with a life-size* cut-out of a flamingo, plus care instructions and some acrylic paint to start the young artists off.
Trail organiser, Jenny Bourne of The Ark Project, said: “Fabric and collage materials can be added according the whim of the young artists, and in the past few years the collages they’ve produced have been outstanding.”
Decorated flamingos will be installed in the shops at the end of term, and the flamingo discovery trail will launch on Saturday 24 March, with free trail maps available from the New Room, John Wesley’s Chapel on The Horsefair.
Last year over 1,000 children took part in the ‘Elephant’ trail, and retailers reported a steady stream of families searching for the 40 members of the hefty herd throughout the two week school holiday.
Jenny Bourne said: “This year’s theme is love and tolerance, and we shall be exploring how we show love in our neighbourhood, in our community and for our planet with a host of free activities being run at the New Room throughout the Easter holiday.
“This is such a joyous event to be involved with, and the success and popularity of the trails lies in the wonderfully imaginative designs and care taken by the children and young people decorating the animals, combined with the sheer enthusiasm of the retailers who all look forward to receiving their visiting animal.”
The flamingos will be displayed in participating shops around Broadmead and Cabot Circus for the two week holiday period (Saturday 24 March to Saturday 7 April), before being united for a week-long massed display in the New Room after the children return to school (9-14 April).
Other free activities being run soon at the New Room include child-friendly workshops on both Wednesdays during the school Easter holiday (28 March and 4 April) from 10.30-1.00 where children and parents or carers will be able to work on a variety of creative projects.
Tucked away in the heart of Bristol’s Broadmead the New Room, which is the oldest Methodist Chapel in the world, also offers a variety of other attractions in its newly-opened multi-million pound Heritage Lottery-funded visitor centre, including a state-of-the-art museum and family-friendly artisan café.
The Ark Project is part of The Bristol and South Gloucestershire Methodist Circuit that runs out of two converted VW vans and supports both local Methodist Churches and community events across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
*The height of an adult lesser flamingo is 80 – 90cm. The cut-out birds are 84cm high.