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Airport terminal’s famous flamingo gets a name

The flamingo sculpture, whose moniker was chosen from 65,000 entries in a contest, will greet passengers at Tampa International Airport.


  • By Brian Hartz
  • | 12:30 p.m. January 9, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
As a result of a public vote held in December, the flamingo featured in Matthew Mazzotta's "Home" sculpture at Tampa International Airport has been named Phoebe. (Courtesy photo)
As a result of a public vote held in December, the flamingo featured in Matthew Mazzotta's "Home" sculpture at Tampa International Airport has been named Phoebe. (Courtesy photo)
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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A giant flamingo featured in an eye-catching Tampa International Airport sculpture, titled Home, now has a name: Phoebe.

The dramatic artwork was created by Matthew Mazzotta and graces the entry area of TIA’s terminal, with the flamingo’s neck and head appearing to descend from the ceiling. In December, the airport held a Name the Flamingo contest that drew more than 65,000 entries, with a prize package consisting of four round-trip tickets from Silver Airways and a Busch Gardens VIP experience that includes four single-day admission tickets, four all-day dining passes, four Quick Queue Unlimited passes and preferred parking.

A panel of judges made up of Hillsborough County Aviation Authority employees narrowed down the field to three finalists: Cora, Finn and Phoebe. A public ballot held between Dec. 30 and Jan. 3, which drew 37,000 votes, determined the winner.

According to the release, Phoebe received 16,122 votes with Cora coming in a close second at 14,341 votes. Finn finished in third place with 6,779 votes. 

The winning entry, according to a news release, was submitted by a retired educator named Bryan (last name withheld) who resides in Daytona Beach Shores. Contest entries were required to include an explanation of the name.

According to the release, Bryan says Phoebe is “a play on Phoenicopterus — the flamingo’s scientific name. ‘Phoebe’ is also a playful alliterative to flamingo and means brilliantly inquisitive. The overall ‘Home’ sculpture is literally brilliant and reveals the flamingo’s inquisitiveness as it hunts for food in the shallows."

Bryan, the release states, was born and raised in Florida and lived in Tampa as a child.

"I went to elementary school in Tampa, just a mile down the road from Busch Gardens," Bryan states in the release. "My career has taken me all over the country, but I moved back to Florida recently. When I heard about this contest, I wanted to enter. After working in higher education for 40 years, I thought I would submit a name that tied back to the scientific name for a flamingo." 

 

author

Brian Hartz

Brian Hartz holds a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University and has been a St. Petersburg resident since 2013. He has also worked for newspapers and magazines in Indiana, Canada and New Zealand.

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