TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — More than 40,000 people turned out in Kaohsiung on Saturday (Jan. 27) to witness the return of Rubber Duck, the giant rubber duck.
Rubber Duck is the name for several 32-meter-tall rubber ducks created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. Though spotted in Keelung harbor in April last year, the outsized bath toy has not had an official outing in Taiwan for more than a decade.
The two giant rubber ducks returned to Taiwan’s waters for the opening of the 2024 Kaohsiung Winter Wonderland event and are parked in the waters of Kaohsiung Harbor’s Love River Bay. Hofman and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) boarded a yacht to welcome the ducks into the harbor.
Chen said he hoped the ducks would highlight the changes Kaohsiung has experienced over the past decade, and thanked Hofman for allowing the ducks to return. Hofman said he was amazed to see the changes around Love Bay over the past ten years, adding Kaohsiung is a sunny, warm, and welcoming city, which resonates with the energy brought by the ducks.
The ducks float in Love River Bay on Saturday. (Kaohsiung Travel photo)
If two giant rubber ducks parked in Love River Bay weren't already twee enough, event organizers also put on the “Go Go! Baby Ducks!” baby crawling race, with tickets selling out within minutes of going on sale. While not all of the babies appeared to realize they were in a race, many of the 400 that participated were dressed as ducks, in line with the theme of the day.
Kaohsiung’s tourism bureau said in a press release that 3.9 million people came to see Rubber Duck when it was last in the city’s harbor, bringing in over NT$1 billion (nearly US$32 million) in tourist dollars. In addition to the ducks, Kaohsiung Winter Wonderland will feature more installation artworks, children’s events, amusement rides, theatre, and more.
Babies race in Kaohsiung on Saturday. (CNA photo)
The artwork has travelled the globe and visited nearly 30 countries and territories. It first debuted in France in 2007.