Giant 40-foot rubber duck arrives in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — The giant 40-foot tall yellow rubber duck arrived in Pittsburgh!


The inflatable duck floated down the Ohio River Friday to mark the opening of an arts festival.

The giant duck was inflated about five miles north of Pittsburgh and was towed to the point where the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela rivers meet.

The weather was just ducky for its arrival, with temperatures in the low 70s and a light breeze. People in a few dozen small boats turned out to greet the duck and thousands of people lined the North Shore to catch a glimpse of it.

The duck is the idea of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. Various versions have made a splash in harbors from Hong Kong to Sao Paulo since 2007.

The duck's arrival marks the start of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts -- and is the first time one of the ducks has bobbed in U.S. waters.

Each city builds its own duck, and the whole project includes massive pontoons, crews to inflate and deflate the duck and, in Pittsburgh, alerting the Coast Guard to the unusual maritime creation.

Hofman said the duck has healing properties because it knows no frontiers, doesn't discriminate and has no political connotation.

The duck was anchored under the Sixth Street Bridge Friday night. Vehicle traffic on the bridge was shut down so everyone can get a good look at the duck.

After Friday night, the 40-foot duck was moved to Point State Park where it was anchored for about three weeks.

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