Park Sharks On The Move

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Chatham Merchants Association , Sharks

Small sharks mounted on several of the larger Sharks in the Park aim to educate people about great white sharks. TIM WOOD PHOTO

CHATHAM – Sharks are on the move. Not only in the waters off the Outer Cape, but in downtown Chatham as well.

With Chatham Band concerts beginning in Kate Gould Park Friday, the Sharks in the Park exhibit had to relocate. Seems there's not enough space for both sharks and the throngs of concert goers who fill up the downtown park every Friday through Labor Day.

So the sharks – all 40-plus of them, as well as the small-scale Chatham Lighthouse and five decorated fishing boats – were scheduled to be moved on Wednesday to the front lawn of the Eldredge Public Library. Like last year, a steady stream of volunteers from the Chatham Merchants Association as well as shark artists and business sponsors were expected to parade down Main Street toting the five-foot-long painted, sculpted and otherwise embellished sharks.

Another fun – and educational – element has been added to this year's sharks in the park, according to coordinator Janice Rogers. Mounted just below a number of the sharks are smaller 15-inch sharks. One side are questions about the animals, such as “True or false: Great white sharks can leap out of the water.” On the back are the answers, in this instance, “True, they breach just like a whale will,” which provide facts about the creatures.

The sharks will remain on display on the library lawn through Labor Day. There's also on ongoing online auction where the sharks will be sold to the highest bidders, with half the proceeds going to the artists and half to the Merchants Association. Bidding on all the sharks starts at $250; as of late last week, several were as high as $450. Bidding at sharksinthepark.net ends Aug. 19. Last year's auction raised a total of $42,339, with five sharks going for more than $2,000.

Also ongoing is the Merchants Association's Ships in the Shops scavenger hunt. Scavenger hunt booklets available at Kate Gould Park and the Chatham Chamber of Commerce downtown information booth and Bassett House headquarters feature photos of each of the 36 ships; hunters must match them with the business or location listed. The ships are in shops scattered throughout town, so the hunt can be a challenge. The scavenger hunt runs through Sept. 5.

Completed booklets can be dropped off at the downtown information booth. After Labor Day, five names will be drawn to win baskets of goodies put together from local merchants. Winners don't have to be present.