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6-Mile Tour de Palm Coast Highlights New Sculptures and Trail Riches

| July 18, 2013

The flight of Life sculptures newly installed at Palm Coast's Waterfront Park. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The flight of Life sculptures newly installed at Palm Coast’s Waterfront Park. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

For the last three weeks the Tour de France has been taking cyclists–and patient television viewers–on superb treks around the country, from the Pyrenees to the Mont St. Michel to the Alps and, finally, Sunday, to Paris. Palm Coast residents and visitors have a chance to have a tour of their own local universe Saturday, July 20, at a much more leisurely pace. They’ll have time enough to enjoy the city’s new park sights, amenities and enhancements–and make it home in time to watch the French tour’s penultimate stage.

The day begins at 8 a.m. at Palm Coast’s Waterfront Park, off Colbert Lane, with the cycling Tour de Palm Coast, led by Palm Coast Landscape Architect Bill Butler. Cyclists will ride about 6 miles on paved trails, stopping at certain points along the way to take in the sights and hear Butler fill in the sight’s backstory. Helmets are recommended for adults and required by law for children. So is plenty of water. Free refreshments will be served after the ride.

The tour will last about an hour, leaving riders plenty of time to explore new additions the city is highlighting this summer. The most visible one, as visitors look toward the Intracoastal shore of Waterfront Park, are the staggering sculptures of blue herons taking flight from sticks and stones below them.

The four “Flight of Life” sculptures are the work of artist Anthony Gargiulo, with the casting of the bronze birds by Vadim Volnov at the GeFest Arts Foundry in Bunnell. The herons are installed on thin stainless steel pedestals that help create the illusion of birds skimming over sawgrass.

The first three birds were gifted by brothers Frank and Tom Gargiulo and Arlene Volpe in memory of Frank and Tom’s parents, Philomena and Angelo. The fourth heron sculpture is in memory of the Gargiulo Art Foundation’s 2012 Flagler County Artist of the Year, Richard Schreiner, who died last year.

“The city’s Beautification and Environmental Advisory Committee’s creation of an ‘Art in Public Places’ program set out a goal to specifically engage more life enriching art in our public spaces,” Butler said. “Flight of Life helps to achieve this goal, and the City of Palm Coast thanks the Gargiulo Art Foundation for all it does to promote this objective.”

Tom Gargiulo has been almost single-handedly giving life to the Art in Public Places idea, starting with the now iconic installation of the Paul Baliker sculpture of the Panther at the entrance of the eastern entrance to mainland-Palm Coast from the Palm Harbor-Hammock Dunes bridge. The panther was Gargiulo’s gift to the city, too.

The city is also excited to introduce its latest bit of trail enrichment: QR codes on signs posted along trails. QR codes are those square, squiggly versions of bar codes that have been cropping up in ads and other places. They enable smartphone users to scan the code and immediately have a web page appear on their phone relating to the code’s location or purpose–whether it’s a wine rack telling its genesis from the Bordeaux region or the segment of a trail in Palm Coast that has a story to tell about its fora and fauna.

In Waterfront Park’s case, visitors can QR their way to videos segments on the history of the Intracoastal Waterway, gopher tortoises, Florida native plants, manatees and the Flight of Life sculptures. City staff will be on hand to assist people with scanning in the codes on their mobile devices.

“This is the City’s second set of permanent QR Code stations, with the first being along Graham Swamp Trail,” said Palm Coast Urban Forester Carol Bennett. “Stopping at the stations to watch a quick and informative video is a fun way to explore our parks and trails. Many people have smart phones today, and kids love the combination of technology and being outdoors to learn more about their natural surroundings.”

For more information on the day’s events, call Cindi Lane, communications and marketing manager, at 386/986-3708.

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