Flanders Wants To Decorate The Big Duck For Various Holidays

By Jen Newman
Flanders residents are busy “plucking out” potential costumes for their iconic landmark to don during various holidays throughout the year.

Each year the Big Duck on Flanders Road gets decorated for the winter holidays with the addition of a lighted garland around its neck. But Suffolk County Parks and Recreation Department officials, who maintain the landmark, recently agreed to allow a community group to decorate the Big Duck an additional four times a year.

According to Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association President Ron Fisher, his group intends to ruffle some feathers by decorating the Big Duck for St. Patrick’s Day, the start of spring, the Fourth of July and Halloween. While he has already been told that they cannot physically attach any decorations to the Big Duck itself, and that all items must be staked to the ground in some fashion, Mr. Fisher said both he and others in his group are thrilled that they have an opportunity to dress up their famous landmark.

“I’m ecstatic that they didn’t just shoot it down,” Mr. Fisher said referring to the county’s approval of the decorations. “I think we can make do with cute little bow ties, necklaces and wreaths.”

In addition to finding decorations that can be draped around the Big Duck’s neck, residents are also searching for ornaments that can be affixed to the ground, such as small wooden tulips for spring and oversized duck footprints for the hamlet’s Easter egg hunt. Group members are also discussing sponsoring a contest in which they solicit Halloween costume ideas from elementary school students, noting that the costume can change annually.

Mr. Fisher said he hopes to secure final approval from the county in time to decorate the Big Duck for next month’s Easter egg hunt.

Suffolk County Parks Department officials could not be immediately reached for comment this week.

Mr. Fisher said he is interested in incorporating additional decorations to the Big Duck, which was constructed in 1931 by Martin Maurer as a way to promote his duck farming business, for the winter holidays. One idea he is thinking about, he added, is possibly projecting holiday images on the side of the white landmark.

“We don’t want to be too distracting because it is a major highway,” he said, pointing to Flanders Road. “We want to keep it tasteful and not tacky but … festive.”