PITTSBURGH - The first U.S. version of a 40-foot-tall rubber duck that's made a splash in harbors from Hong Kong to Sao Paulo will appear in Pittsburgh on Friday during the
Festival of Firsts.
Each city builds its own duck from the plans of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. The project includes massive pontoons, crews to inflate and deflate the duck, and here, alerting such organizations as the Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Hofman said the duck has healing properties because it knows no frontiers, doesn't discriminate and has no political connotation.
That's all well and good, but the Coast Guard said it was still glad to get notice that a duck that's several stories high will be floating in the busy Ohio River.
"We're involved in the safety of the event and making sure the waterways stay open and that recreational and commercial traffic are not negatively impacted," U.S. Coast Guard John Dittmar said.
The event is expected to bring a lot of people, money and traffic to downtown Pittsburgh.
The duck will make its way upriver Friday around 5:30 p.m. and will be anchored under the Sixth Street Bridge. Traffic on the bridge will be shut down so everyone can get a good look at the duck.
The duck has already attracted huge crowds all over the world, including its last visit in Hong Kong.
Hofman was in Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a press conference with the Cultural Trust.
"The rubber duck, I will tell you, will change Pittsburgh for a bit. It will change the river and its scenery around it. I hope you can see and also feel that,"
Officials said people from as far away as Texas and Miami have inquired about seeing the duck in person in Pittsburgh.
After Friday night, the 40-foot duck will be moved to Point State Park where it will be anchored for about three weeks.
"The captain of port has established a safety zone that's in effect from (Thursday) at noon all the way till Oct. 21," Dittmar said.
WPXI.com will be streaming the duck’s arrival LIVE. Channel 11’s coverage begins at 4 p.m. on wpxi.com. We will follow the giant rubber duck on its river journey.
If you are attending tonight’s arrival or if you plan to visit the duck during its stay in Pittsburgh, share your photos with us using #PittsburghDuck and #rubberduck on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.