Published: 06:00, 20 August 2021
As Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade comes to an end, those who haven’t had the chance to see the colourful elephants in all their glory are able to say a special goodbye at the Farewell Weekend.
All 82 Elmers, large and small, will be brought together at Lockmeadow in the town for Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade Farewell Weekend from Friday, September 3 until Sunday, September 5.
It will give those who missed any Elmers out on the trails in Maidstone the chance to see all the sculptures under one roof and complete the collection.
Those who have the Parade app will still be able to unlock each Elmer and reveal exclusive rewards.
The Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Fay Gooch, who will launch the weekend said: “These amazing sculptures are so engaging, they have brought such colour and huge excitement to everyone who has followed the trail or come across them.
“The whole event has been for such a worthy cause – Heart of Kent Hospice - and I am so pleased that all the funds raised will help this wonderful organisation which is also one of my chosen charities for my Mayoral year.
“As sad as it is to be saying farewell to these fantastic sculptures, I am delighted to be asked to see all of the Elmers together in one place reunited for the last time.”
Farewell tickets must be booked online and come in one-hour time slots across the three day event.
Proceeds will go to support Heart of Kent Hospice.
Until then, the Elmers will still be on show in Maidstone until Sunday, over three distinct trails.
So far more than 9,818 people have downloaded the parade app, some 317,352 sculptures have been collected and 16,617 miles walked.
A staggering 9,599 people have voted for their favourite sculpture and 180,408 rewards have been collected.
Vanessa Brown, a graphic designer who created the elephant 'Zoo Park Shenanigans' sponsored by the KM, says she can't wait to see all the elephants under one roof.
She designed the Elmer with her husband Hayden through lockdown when their work at The Brown Studio in Wateringbury came to a halt.
The 49-year-old said: "I’ve seen photos of all the elephants but to actually see them all together, because they're all so different, will be amazing.
"It will be a good way to see how different artists approached the design and the story behind each of them.
"The farewell weekend will be brilliant because lots of people have done the trail but haven't quite got all the elephants yet so it will be a good way for them to collect the last ones."
Mrs Brown came up with the idea based on fond memories visiting Cobtree Manor Park as a child.
The hand drawn illustrations touch upon the history of the former Maidstone Zoo between 1949 and 1959.
There were more than 250 species at the zoo but only the Elephant House remains today.
Each sculpture will be auctioned in support of Heart of Kent Hospice on Thursday, September 9.
Tickets to the Farewell weekend are £4 for adults and £2 for children aged three to 16 years.
Family rates are also available. Find out more here.