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Duck Pond Dragon Out For Repairs
A Refit From Bottom To Top
May 25, 2012
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Hurricanes and Herons Take A Toll

Also needing replacement is the dragon’s horn. When deployed 8 years ago, the horn – made of a real elk horn – had been sticking up from the middle of the dragon’s head. Now it is gone.


The photo on top was taken when the dragon was launched in 2004 and shows a more golden pigment (since bleached by the sun) and a prominent horn. In the photo taken this week in Gary Gresko’s studio, there’s no horn on snout (Gary says a heron took it off) and the dragon has a palid complexion. Both of those vanities will be attended to in the refit.

Gary Gresko lays blame for the damage on a heron. Or maybe multiple herons. The horn was right in the spot on the dragon’s head where a heron perched, and had been photographed often. It was a scene to behold, and passersby would stop to take in the heron-on-the-dragon. The dragon’s sculptor is less admiring of that interplay between art and nature. Bird and animals, Gresko says, “plop around” and break dragon parts.

“There’s all kinds of things to sit on,” he says,as if addressing the avian dragon squatters.“Don’t sit on the dragon!”

A photo from last June, that was On The Cover of TownDock.net, shows a green heron standing where the elk horn once was.
Aim: Outsmarting The Birds

As the birds likely won’t listen to his imploring, Gresko’s working out ways to otherwise persuade the birds from perching on his sculpture. Namely, “more sharp things sticking up” around the base of the dragon and on its head. This time around, Gresko says, the spiky horn sticking out of the dragon’s head will be “deeper, stronger and sharper.” The point, he says, is to “make it uncomfortable” for herons and wildlife.

The dragon’s wings — made of fiberglass — will be reworked and given a new shine. When first deployed in 2004, the wings gleamed in the light. Gresko says he would like to coat them in paper-thin gold leaf to bring that shimmer. Asked if any of those materials would make it prey to thieves, Gresko notes the “flesh-eating bacteria” of the Duck Pond would dissuade them. (See above: keel-eating waters)

Donations of Funds and Materials Welcomed

Gary Gresko initially figured the cost of materials and labor to be about $500, but it may be higher given the price of the copper needed for the keel. If you have materials to donate — thin mirrored glass that is thin or colored mirrored glass pieces (not plate; less than 1/4 inch) could be a help. (Gary says he has enough of the Yeungling green glass beer bottles. ) Also needed are copper sheathing, copper pipe or plate. If you’d like to make a financial donation, send it directly to Gary Gresko at PO Box 284, Oriental, NC 28571.

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Earlier Stories and Photos About The Duck Pond Dragon

For the March 2004 story about the dragon being built, click here.

For the May 2004 story about the dragon’s launch in to the Duck Pond, click here.

For view of a bird on the Duck Pond dragon’s back, click here.

For the On The Cover photo of a green heron on the Duck Pond dragon’s snout, click here.

Duck Pond dragon as seen in a 2009 On The Cover photo.

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Post Script: The Original Duck Pond Dragon

This dragon is not the first to grace the Oriental Duck Pond. Compared to an earlier Duck Pond dragon’s travails, this one is faring pretty well.

Grace Evans says that an earlier dragon was secretly launched on Halloween 1991. It can be told now that it was Grace and Sue Henry who deployed it and that artists Gary Gresko and Pat McAbee were part of its creation. During that dragon’s stay in the Duck Pond, says Grace, “it had several adventures that necessitated it being laid up from time to time.”

It was stolen by teenagers — and recovered by then police chief Jim Bunn. Its anchor at that time, says Grace, “was a cement block and its leash was usually chain link that could rust out or get kinked.

It also broke loose of its mooring in a storm. Grace reports that “it was floating out past the Town Dock in a northeaster and Missy Baskervill ran from her office (now The Bean) and rescued it.”

That dragon also “got beat up in two hurricanes and finally broke up,” Grace Evans says. “It was low tech as you can see from the part I salvaged.” The head of that earlier dragon is at the Oriental History Museum.

The town went a few years without a Duck Pond dragon before the 2004 launching of the dragon that is now being repaired.
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Posted Friday May 25, 2012 by Melinda Penkava


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