Big Hoot art trail set to boost Ipswich town centre as it launches

Caoimhe with with her favourite, Ipswich-inspired Big Hoot

Next week's Big Hoot is hoped to offer a boost to the Ipswich economy. Pictured: Caoimhe with with her favourite, Ipswich-inspired Big Hoot. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

With less than one week to go until the next art trail comes to Ipswich, the town can hope to see a boost to its economy as footfall increases, data has suggested. 

Previous art trails have brought as much as £1million to the local economy as visitors flocked to view the statues.  

The Big Hoot will begin on Sunday, June 19, and is the third art trail in Ipswich organised by St Elizabeth Hospice in partnership with Wild in Art. 

Over 100 owl statues, big and small, will be spread out around the town, with the Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times offering an exclusive view of the trail map last week. 

Over 100 owls, 55 Big Hoots and 65 Little Hoots, will be coming into roost around Ipswich next weekend.

Over 100 owls, 55 Big Hoots and 65 Little Hoots, will be coming into roost around Ipswich next weekend. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

In 2019, 55 elephant statues based on the children’s book character Elmer were scattered in a trail around Ipswich for Elmer’s Big Parade. 

Surveys conducted by the hospice showed that one in five visitors had travelled from outside Suffolk.  

A total of 64% had come from the Ipswich area, while 16% had travelled from elsewhere in Suffolk. 

Around 79% said that they had spent more time in Ipswich as a result of the trail. 

Element Elephants are installed all over Ipswich ahead of the Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk trail

Elmer Elephants were installed all over Ipswich for the Elmer's Big Parade trail in 2019 - Credit: Archant 2019

The Elmer statues were inspired by the popular children's book character.

The Elmer statues were inspired by the popular children's book character. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Ed-Sher-Ham was one of the stars of Pigs Gone Wild.

Ed-Sheer-Ham was one of the stars of Pigs Gone Wild. - Credit: Archant

The Pigs Gone Wild parade in 2016 was completed by 250,000 people.

The Pigs Gone Wild parade in 2016 was completed by 250,000 people. - Credit: Archant

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Meanwhile in 2016, the town played host to Pigs Gone Wild, featuring the unforgettable Ed Sheer-Ham in homage to Suffolk singer Ed Sheeran.  

Some 250,000 people completed the trail, and the hospice estimates that as much as £1 million was brought to the town. 

Chris Barnard, Head of Place at Ipswich Central: "It's great to see another Wild in Art Trail coming to Ipswich this week. Previously these have drawn thousands of people into the town, and it's wonderful that local businesses can get involved and be part of it.  

“We're sure the Big Hoot will be another enormous success for St Elizabeth hospice and we look forward to seeing all the new resident Hoots popping up around Ipswich!” 

Celia Joseph, community relationships fundraising manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “The public had a real affection for our previous art trails, Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk and Pigs Gone Wild, and we hope they will enjoy the Big Hoot Ipswich 2022 just as much and help make it an even bigger success.” 

Chris Barnard is head of place at Ipswich Central.

Chris Barnard is head of place at Ipswich Central. - Credit: Nia Friel