Parma and flamingos?

I’ve lived in Parma, Ohio for about 7 years now. It’s a pretty big suburb outside of Cleveland. I realize seven years isn’t really that long, but you’d think I’d be able to figure this out by now.

See, Parma seems to have this strange obsession with pink flamingos. It’s on our website, it’s on drug store bulletin boards, and it’s even in the Drew Carey theme song. Am I missing something?

Why the flamingo fixation?

Doing a significant amount of Googling turned up the following:
[ul][li]Nobody seems to have documented the origin of the Parma/flamingo connection, unless it simply lies in the stereotype of Parma as “middle-class white families with a pink flamingo in their yard” having been bought into and “reclaimed.”[/li][li]There’s an amazing amount of interconnection between the two terms worldwide, though in ridiculous contexts like Ristorante Flamingo offering a Parma ham dish or Parma Dry Cleaners on Flamingo Road.[/li][li]The infection has spread to Idaho, where there is a small town called Parma with guess what for a logo.[/ul][/li]
Apparently it’s just one of those things, like the connection between an two-large-island nation in the South Pacific and a hairy flightless bird.

Cheektowaga, New York, a very blue-collar, predominantly Polish-American suburb of Buffalo, also has a well-deserved reputation for plastic pink flamingos and other displays of lawn art.

The Polish American/pink flamingo connection was also implied in the “Parma Place” skits on Ghoulardi Shock Theater, a show broadcast by a Cleveland television station in the 1960s.

Here’s a web page that references both Parma and Cheektowaga as hotbeds of polka. I also found a listserv message that mentions the Polish “tradition” of placing pink flamingos on their lawns.

There is a suburb of Buffalo with a heavy Polish immigrant influence. The running stereotypical joke is a Pink Flamingo in every yard.

I’m of Polish decent and live in a more rural area but my brother managed to track down some pink flamingo lawn ornaments for a present for me. I proudly planted them in my back yard.

So der day stand, side by each, don’cha know boy.

elmwood you are killing me.

Haha. That explains why they serve perogies in school cafeterias around here. :slight_smile:

Thank you.

Don’t forget the chrome balls.

Does that have anything to do with why the flamingos seem to multiply through an area, Sam? ::innocent, angelic smiley::

A number of years ago (before they became all the rage and could be found at Wal-Mart), I wanted a mirrored glass “gazing ball” (the correct term) or “murgatroid” (what I call them). My husband dutifully shopped for one, and when he described what he was looking for to a clerk in a garden center, the guy said, “Oh! You mean a ‘Parma daisy’?”

Outside of Cheektowaga, one really doesn’t see many lawn ornaments in the Buffalo area, except for MOTHS (Mary On The Half Shell; elaborate shrines to the Virgin Mary, often consisting of a Virgin Mary statue sheltered by a half-buried upright clawfoot bathtub), and among some some old-school Italian-Americans, gaudy displays of statues and fountains by a In other working-to-middle class blue-collar suburbs, like Tonawanda, Cheektowaga-style lawn ornament displays are uncommon. Same thing in Cleveland; in the inner ring eastern suburbs; you’ll see the usual MOTHS in neighborhoods with a large Italian-American population, the occasional ironic flamingo in front of a house owned by artsy hipsters, and that’s about it.

The communities that seem to have a reputation for lots of pink flamingos and tacky lawn ornaments - Cheektowaga, New York; Parma, Ohio; and from what I’ve heard, Dundalk, Maryland – all have a sizeable Polish-American presence. My question is the same as that posed by this listserv question - are Polish-Americans more likely to display lawn ornaments than their non-Polish peers, and if so, why?

I thought those were a '90s ‘New Age’ thing. At least, the late-'90s is when I saw them show up in stores in SoCal. Never gave them much though beyond ‘Hm. I can see a ‘starchild’ gazing into this thing while sitting in the lotus position and drinking a smoothie’. So I was surprised when I pooed Pink Flamingoes into the DVD player a couple of weeks ago and saw one outside of Divine’s trailer.

Heathens! That’s an altar to the God of Bowling!

Hm. Singularly fitting typo. Of course I meant ‘popped’.

I am so ashamed of my inadvertant blasphemy! That surely must account for my last bowling score…

I am going now to place a pizza and a couple of beers at the foot of the altar.

An American Hero, the Man Who Designed the Plastic Lawn Flamingo, Dies

I believe it was Ghoulardi who popularized the connection between Parma (“Par-ma?!”) and, not only pink flamingos, but white socks.

You do know that they are actually aliens, don’t you? We have gnomes over here - I guess a different tribe from the same planet, or maybe another race altogether - who knows?

Anyway, once there are enough of them, they will rise up and exterminate us all.

You have been warned…:slight_smile:

Funny enough, I used to participate in flock-ups in Winnipeg in the 80s during my misspent youth. We would “transfer” a bunch of them from Transcona to a worthy adversary’s lawn, and sometimes to random individuals as well. Probably a good thing Youtube/internet wasn’t invented yet…