Keelung’s attempt to cash in on giant inflatable fowls turned into a tale of woe this week as its two large floating chickens collapsed like dominoes, lasting for less than two days.
All that was left of the 18m-high inflatables were piles of rubber sheeting at the Port of Keelung’s No. 3 East Wharf.
The Taiwan-made Dream Coo Coo Chicken (夢想咕咕雞) deflated on Monday and the Hong Kong-made Golden Chicken (金雞) fell on Tuesday.
One of the organizers of the display, obviously perturbed, says the giant inflatables were victims of the strong winds, low temperatures and rainy conditions brought by a strong cold snap in northern Taiwan this week.
The city government and members of the business community had hoped the two chickens would fill the fowl void after Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck ended its stay in the northern city on Saturday last week.
Organizers hoped the chickens would sustain the boost in tourism seen over the Lunar New Year holiday.
“We have the Dream Coo Coo Chicken and the Golden Chicken here at the Keelung Port to create a fun and festive atmosphere for everyone. They will accompany people through Valentine’s Day and the Lantern Festival,” Yusheng Co chief operating officer Sun Yu-tang (孫鈺棠) said on Sunday as the chickens were being inflated.
However, Sun’s optimism was soon deflated by Mother Nature.
This week’s cold snap brought in rainy and windy conditions, lowering temperatures to 10oC in Keelung.
It also appears to have kept sightseers away from the city as television news reports showed only a few visitors at the Keelung harbor front and the wharf plaza areas over the past three days.
Battered by gusty northeasterly winds and driving rain, the Dream Coo Coo Chicken began to fall, listing on Monday until its head was submerged. Organizers decided to deflate it for safety reasons.
The Golden Chicken held out for one more day.
A Yusheng Co official said they were defeated by the unexpected weather, and that given the sparse crowds on Monday and Tuesday, and vendors reporting little business, the firm decided yesterday to cancel the display.
“We miscalculated. The cold and rainy weather was difficult to overcome. We took a loss of NT$15 million [US$495,000],” the official said.