The kitschy nature of the pink garden flamingo, like its cousin the garden gnome, has become the fun-humored, yet antithetical, icon of respectable landscape architecture. In many cases the pink flamingo has become the tongue-in-cheek mascot of landscape architecture clubs, scholarly programs, and student groups, who have all studied the masterful design principles of Frederick Law Olmsted.
Back in 2018, Buffalo celebrated 150 years of its award winning Olmsted designed parks and the recognition of our nation’s first urban park system. To engage the greater parks community around this tribute, the Conservancy launched the idea to break a World Record, but which one? As luck would have it, the longest line of pink garden flamingos was identified as within reach. In honor of Frederick Law Olmsted (FLO) it was only fitting to rename our flamingos “FLOmingos” and from there the story expands.
After successfully setting the new Guinness World Record on June 21, 2018 with a line of 1,500 the Conservancy continued its fanciful quest for FLOmingos with activities every June thereafter. In 2020, the Buffalo Maritime Center partnered with the Conservancy on the introduction of FLOat-mingos, the paddle boats now found on Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park. Similar in concept to the Swan boats of Boston’s Olmsted-designed Emerald Necklace, Buffalo’s flamboyance of pink paddle boats is now a major attraction in the community. The Conservancy continues its quest for FLOmingo celebrations each summer.
Now during this special 200th birthday celebration year for Mr. Olmsted Buffalo we have the opportunity to once again reclaim the Guinness World Record for the longest line of pink garden flamingos. The FLOmingo 2022 challenge aims to achieve 4,260 in a line representing Olmsted’s date of birth, April (4) 26th. This event is a special fundraiser for the Conservancy, with a portion of proceeds going to support the outstanding work of the National Association for Olmsted Parks.