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August 24, 2017

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100,000 visit Rubber Duck at Taoyuan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The second Taiwan version of the giant Rubber Duck inflatable sculpture debuted in Taoyuan County Saturday, drawing an estimated 100,000 viewers in the first day.

Passionate fans of the giant art installation began flocking to the exhibition site at a pond in Taoyuan's Xinwu Township in Northern Taiwan early in the morning.

The trail along the pond was scheduled to open to visitors at 9 a.m., but the organizers decided to bring forward the time to 8 a.m. because by then the line was already 3-kilometers long.

The number of visitors grew to 10,000 within the first two hours and continued to increase rapidly after that, the organizers said. The organizers had postponed the closing time by nearly an hour to accommodate some 600 viewers still lining up at the official end of the first day of the exhibition at 5 p.m.

The organizers estimated that the art installation had drawn some 100,000 visitors, more than double the entire population of Xinwu Township (48,000).

The Taoyuan version of the floating duck is 18-meters tall, 18-meters wide and 25-meters long.

Designed by the original artist Florentijn Hofman of the Netherlands, the inflatable duck was made to fit into the township's unique landscape, which the Taoyuan County Government is hoping to promote.

As part of the Taoyuan Land Art Festival, the Rubber Duck is sitting in one of the many ponds in Xinwu Township in a rural setting. The township's various ponds are normally used for aquaculture or irrigation.

The sculpture is expected to highlight Taoyuan County's unique pond-dotted landscape, county officials said.

Besides the popular Rubber Duck, many other art installations are on display at the festival. They include a series of pink polka dot inflatables, called Footprints of Life, by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and giant pink Lotus by Korean Choi Jeong-hwa.

The landscape festival, the first of its kind in Taoyuan, is expected to attract over 1.5 million visitors before it concludes on Nov. 10.

The first Taiwan version of Hofman's inflatable duck made a big splash in Kaohsiung, attracting 3.9 million visitors during a monthlong display that ended Oct. 20.

According to the Kaohsiung City Government, the duck helped generate over NT$1 billion (US$33 million) in business for the southern port city.

Since 2007, the yellow Rubber Duck has graced many harbor cities around the world, including Osaka, Hong Kong, Sydney, Pittsburgh and Sao Paulo. Each city builds its own duck from Hofman's design, adopting a process that requires massive pontoons and crews to inflate and deflate the duck.

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