Everything you need to know before the launch of Elmer's Big Parade tomorrow
PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 June 2019
Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk takes over Ipswich in one day's time, with thousands of visitors and millions of pounds expected to flow to the town.
The Elmer parade will follow in the trotter-steps of the 2016 Pigs Gone Wild trail, which attracted over 25,000 people to Ipswich and generated an additional £1million for the local economy.
Even better, it raised £200,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice - but supporters of the town and charity expect this year trail to bring an even greater boost.
Norman Lloyd, campaign manager for the parade at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: "This weekend is the culmination of more than two years' hard work for me so I am really proud to finally see our fabulous sculptures out and about brightening up the streets and open spaces of our county town.
"Not only have we got 55 amazing large Elmers but of course we've also got our Learning Herd, with 84 smaller sculptures all beautifully designed and painted by local schools and youth groups.
"We hope lots of visitors will come and see us in our brand new Elmer HQ, the perfect place to pick up a Parade Map and start your Elmer adventure!"
The designs of the 139 statues will be revealed early Saturday morning as the hospice team settle the elephants into their new homes.
Terry Hunt, chairman of Ipswich Vision, said: "Through Pigs Gone Wild, there was an estimated spend of £1million in the town and most of the 25,000 people that visited went away with a more positive view of Ipswich.
"All of the best aspects of that trail will be repeated and expanded upon because this art trail is even bigger and better than the one before - those figures will be amplified.
"The opportunity Ipswich will have is to find ways to get people coming into the town in ways they usually wouldn't so they can find aspects of the town they have not experienced before."
The art trail launch comes as it was revealed Rodin's The Kiss has boosted attendances at Christchurch Mansion by almost 50% after arriving at the start of the year.
And on top of that, the Ed Sheeran: Made In Suffolk exhibition opens in August as a prelude to the Suffolk superstar's four Chantry Park homecoming gigs and is again expected to bring a major boost to tourism in Ipswich.
Mr Hunt added: "It proves the quality of Ipswich to have three really big draws like these in less than a year."
Where can you find Elmer in Ipswich?
The full-sized Elmers will be moved into Ipswich for the trail to start on June 15, but until then the designs are being kept under lock and key.
Many of them will appear close to or inside the businesses and buildings that sponsored them - so look out for the 'Ladyphant' design in and around Sailmakers' Shopping Centre, and 'Elephantom of the Opera' close to Suffolk solicitors, Birketts.
The elephants will be spread right across Ipswich, so to find all of them will take a pair of comfortable shoes and a lot of walking to all Ipswich has to offer.
There are also 11 herds of the smaller Elmers dotted around the town, clustered together to make them easier to locate and enjoy.
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The Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk sticker and activity book contains a map to help you find all the statues, and you can also find this on the art trail app, available on Google Play and the App Store for £1.99.
How can I get the sticker album - and how many stickers are there?
You can pre-order your special souvenir sticker album and activity book online.
From June 15 the elephants will be on parade in Ipswich town centre and on the waterfront - and the sticker album contains every elephant you can find in Ipswich, with 10 of the elephants treated to their own shiny sticker.
If you pre-order the album, brought to you by the Ipswich Star and the East Anglian Daily Times, you can receive 20% off, plus free postage and packing.
Pre-orders have to be made by today, June 14.
There are 139 Elmers to find and the same number of stickers to collect.
From June 17, every copy of the Ipswich Star and EADT will also have a voucher for a free pack of stickers, worth £1.
Where can you spot the elephants?
Sailmakers Shopping Centre will host two full-sized Elmers and a Learning Her, making it prime Elmer spotting territory.
The ladybird-inspiried 'Ladyphant' is sponsored by the shopping centre and 'Treasure Trunk' is backed by Shirley Shelley Contract Cleaners.
Manager Mike Sorhaindo said: "We're especially pleased to have so many elephants here thanks to the efforts of local schools.
"The last trail was a tremendous success for Sailmakers and the whole town in terms of getting children and families out and about in Ipswich, showcasing areas of the town they may not have traditionally visited before.
"It was a real boost for footfall to the centre and local tourism and we are extremely excited and pleased to be part of this great campaign yet again with our very sponsored Ladyphant.
"It's a fantastic idea because public art trails are a great way of engaging people, promoting businesses and most importantly at the end of it raising money for a worthy charity like St Elizabeth Hospice."
"We're delighted to be involved again with our very own Elmer because the Hospice are such a special part of life in the area and I'm sure the trail will again be a big success in showcasing what a great place Ipswich is."
And there will be plenty more to see around the town's main shopping area, plus you can drop into Elmer HQ in the Cornhill for stickers, merchandise and advice of completing the trail.