After captivating San Luis Obispo County visitors and residents for eight months, the colorful cows of CowParade SLO were put out to pasture in an evening of silent and live auction bidding at the Santa Margarita Ranch on Saturday.
“We like to say it’s been udderly amazing,” CowParade coordinator Tom Halen joked Friday.
The cows were auctioned off for charity — primarily the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, ARTS Obispo and the CMSF Heritage Foundation — but many of the sales benefited dozens of other charities and nonprofit groups.
“This was just an amazing chance to raise a ton of money with an art exhibit that everybody seemed to enjoy,” marketing coordinator Courtney Meznarich said.
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Meznarich said 24 of the cows were put up for bid Saturday in a live auction, while another 22 were available via silent auction. An additional 20 cows are up for bid online until May 21. The highest bid placed on a cow online Saturday afternoon was “In-Cow-able Hulk,” at $1,500.
Though many of the 101 fiberglass cattle will no longer be on public display, Halen said some of the most prominent works will remain.
Examples include “Moo With a View” on Islay Hill, “Marilyn Mooonroe” in front of the SLO Little Theatre, “Moo-nipero Serra” in Mission Plaza, “Clarabelle the Wine Cow” at Paso Robles Inn, “Moo Monarch” at the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets and “Classic California” at the Pismo Beach Pier.
Meznarich said several of the businesses and organizations that initially sponsored the cows opted to keep them after “they realized throughout the event how beloved the cows came to be.”
Check out the top 10 voted cows here.