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Flock! You’re it. Perham businesses seeing pink

Submitted photo In an effort to raise money for Relay for Life, flocks of plastic flamingos have been turning up around town, courtesy of United Community Bank. A small donation is requested before the flamingos move on to a new location.

Of the many shorebirds seen in Minnesota, flocks of flamingos have not been a normal sight in Perham, that is, until recently. These pink birds have now been spotted swarming numerous locations since last week.

As part of a Relay for Life fundraiser, Perham’s United Community Bank has spearheaded a new fundraising campaign, with pink lawn flamingo partners, as they have taken over the lawns of Perham businesses.

“We got the idea from seeing it done for another fundraiser in Fargo,” said fundraiser organizer and marketing director at United Community Bank, Nikki Werner. “That ended up being a huge success, so we figured, ‘Hey, let’s give it a go here in Perham.”

Although the bank has long been involved with fundraising for Relay for Life, this is the first time they have enlisted their feathery friends.

So, say you’ve been flocked… what happens next?

Businesses have a few options for how to shoo the birds away once they have landed and made an area their home.

“A few of us from the bank come out and place the flamingos at the area business and leave them with a fun flier stating their options for getting the birds to move on,” explained Werner.

Each time the birds are placed, a flier is left for the business owner, giving them the opportunity to have the flamingos removed for a $20 donation to the cause.

A $30 donation is requested if the affected business is interested in “flocking” someone else.

Once flocked, businesses can also donate an extra $20 for an “insurance policy” to keep the birds away for good.

Werner’s information is also included on the sheet, so the 20 plastic flamingos can continue migrating and keep the donations coming in.

“Because the interest has been so great, we actually had to get more birds to have a second flock,” said Werner. “All the businesses loved it and wanted to send flamingos to other places. In the first five days, we managed to raise $400.”

The amount had doubled to $800 as of Tuesday afternoon.

The plan is to keep the fundraiser going through the end of May. But, if interest remains high, the flamingos will keep flapping around, right up until the big Relay for Life event in July.

“I can’t thank the community enough, the support has been great and the amount we’ve received in donations has exceeded what we had even hoped for at this point,” said Werner. “Perham residents certainly do get behind and support these great causes.”

A secondary goal for the flockings is the creation of fun, “harmless rivalry” amongst area businesses.

A few Perham area businesses that have already been spotted with flamingos include: Wild Oaks, Aqua Lawn, Prairie Wind Middle School and Heart of the Lakes Elementary. The middle school raised $118 in just two days.

For more information on the fundraiser, or to suggest a location for the flock, visit United Community Bank’s Facebook page, or contact Nikki directly by calling (218) 346-9781.

In addition to the flamingos, United Community Bank will also host a lunch fundraiser for Relay for Life on Friday, April 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the main Perham location.