Delegation of decorated donkeys on the way to Philly for Democrats’ convention

Democratic National Convention Chairman Ed Rendell presents one of 57 decorated fiberglass donkeys that will be placed around the city during the convention. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Democratic National Convention Chairman Ed Rendell presents one of 57 decorated fiberglass donkeys that will be placed around the city during the convention. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

This summer, a herd of donkeys will overrun downtown Philadelphia.

Fifty-seven fiberglass donkeys will be installed around the city for the Democratic National Convention in July, each representing a visiting delegation. The civic art organizations Mural Arts Program and ArtJawn tapped 28 city-area artists to decorate each life-size donkey to reflect the delegation’s home states. The artists will be paid $500 per animal.

The donkey idea began with former Gov. Ed Rendell, taking a page from Chicago’s CowParade. He wanted residents of Philadelphia to feel engaged with the national political event that will take place at the Convention Center and the Wells Fargo sports arena from July 25 to 28.

“Probably, not many of them can get into the hall itself, but we wanted them to feel part of this,” said Rendell. “So, I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have donkeys?”

The donkeys will be scattered in 57 locations throughout the downtown area. The tourist organization Visit Philadelphia will create a scavenger hunt game, with prizes.

All the donkeys will be installed  in time for the city’s Fourth of July celebration and remain in place until September. The delegations will have the option of taking the donkey home with them, for the cost of the shipping. Those that remain will be auctioned off.

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