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Why there are dozens of colorful cows on display across Boston

Colorful cows for a cause
WATCH: Correspondent Kate Armanini explains why there are so many life-size cow statues spread across the city.

Cows have taken over the Boston area.

Across the city and beyond, 75 life-size fiberglass cows are on display and being sold to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

There’s a winged cow. A sunflower cow. Even an MBTA Orange Line cow. And for $15,000, one of them could be yours.

“We have people coming from across the country,” Suzanne Fountain, vice president of the Jimmy Fund, said in a phone interview. “They just love seeing the cows.”

The CowParade marks the 75th anniversary of the nonprofit the Jimmy Fund, which organizes fund-raising events for Dana-Farber. Each bovine was designed by a New England artist and will be displayed around the area through Labor Day weekend.


Details on the entire herd is posted the Jimmy Fund website. Seventeen cows — including three cheekily dubbed “Bill Bellicow,” “ON THE MOOOOOVE,” and “Heifervescence” — have already been sold.

Why buy a cow? Why not, Fountain said. Sponsorships start at $15,000, and select cows will be auctioned off in August. Buyers range from large corporations to individual cow enthusiasts. Those interested should reach out to the Jimmy Fund through its website.

“Some people, believe it or not, just put them in their backyard,” Fountain said. “They’re just fun.”

The nonprofit last organized a CowParade in 2006, raising $1.1 million for cancer research. The public art installation comes to different cities each year, fund-raising for charitable organizations at each stop.

“The cow is a universally beloved animal,” CowParade’s website says. “There is something magical about the cow that transcends throughout the world.”

A commuter rode a scooter past “Commit,” a painted cow at the Boston Common in Boston.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

The project is over a year in the making, Fountain noted. The nonprofit sought a way to commemorate its milestone, and few fund-raising initiatives had topped the last bovine display 17 years ago.

“It’s just amazing to see it come to fruition,” she said. “I can’t wait to just go on the walk and see them.”


The largest cow corral is in the Boston Common, with 11 sculptures, according to the pasture map. The animals are interspersed across dozens of high-traffic areas in the city, including Fenway Park and Newbury Street. There’s also a cow in Worcester and another at Gillette Stadium. Each weighs about 125 pounds and is mounted on a cement base for public display.

“I’m not supposed to have favorites,” Fountain said with a laugh. “But there’s one called the [”Iron Cow”]. It’s fabulous ... It’s really hard to pick a special one because each one has a story behind it.”

Though the official unveiling is later this week, several of the cows are already on display across the city, delighting onlookers.

Andzelika Janeczek, visiting from Poland, lined up a selfie with a CowParade New England cow sculpture called “Udder Transformation” by artist Nancy-Lee Mauger. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

“COW PARADE IS COMING,” one person wrote on Facebook Monday. “They are slowly MOOving to the streets ... DON’T MISS IT.”

Fountain said she hopes the array of cows brings joy to passersby across the Greater Boston area.

“It’s really our way of doing something fun that everybody in the community can take part in,” Fountain said. “And it’s all for our mission to defy cancer.”

Artist Eamon White poses with his cow, "City Cownect," one of the two Boston Red Sox cows in the CowParade.The Jimmy Fund

Kate Armanini can be reached at kate.armanini@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @KateArmanini.