TAMPA - Marked 'fragile,' she traveled more than 2,000 miles. Not to worry, though. She was packed with peanuts.
"This elephant that's arriving here today was actually featured at the 1996 Republican National Convention in San Diego. We've been very fortunate to be able to acquire it," said Jay Goulde, Director of the Outdoor Arts Foundation.
The patriotic elephant sculpture will lodge at the Marriott Waterside hotel during Tampa's 2012 Republican National Convention. The hard foam sculpture is the biggest of a painted herd taking over Channelside and sponsored by the Outdoor Arts Foundation (learn more at www.outdoorartsfoundation.com ).
The elephant is only one way the Marriott Waterside will greet RNC guests. There's also a multi-million dollar renovation taking place.
The Waterside is hosting the Massachusetts Delegation plus plenty of high-profile RNC guests. The hotel is within walking distance of the forum, and likely inside a U.S. Secret Service security perimeter. They are spending $2 million on a massive renovation, including both hotel restaurants.
"They're getting new furniture, chairs, carpeting, paint. It's going to look brand new in there," said Mike Falconer, Director Marketing Marriott Waterside Hotel.
"We will later be doing our outside patio and putting in new patio furniture, two fire pits, and misters,” he said.
Crews are also refreshing the hotel lobby, where guests will pose for pictures with a piece of Republican Party history. Then the patriotic pachyderm will go home with the highest bidder after an August silent auction.
"He's going to have a prominent little place in the lobby just to add a little atmosphere," said Falconer.
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