Breaking! Miss Fancy celebration in Avondale Park tonight

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Miss Fancy is back on her pedestal in Avondale Park! Hurray! Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.
Miss Fancy is back on her pedestal in Avondale Park! Hurray! Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Extra, extra!  Miss Fancy is back. The team who restored Birmingham’s favorite elephant has rescheduled her dedication to today at 5 PM in Avondale Park. Check out her story here.

Who is Miss Fancy?

Old photo of Miss Fancy giving a children a ride on her back
Children loved feeding Miss Fancy and Miss Fancy loved being fed. Photo via Bham Wiki

The legend of Miss Fancy began with a real-life elephant at the Birmingham zoo. Miss Fancy was an Indian elephant at the zoo when it was still in Avondale Park from 1913-1934. She was a crowd favorite at the old zoo. Rumor has it that the real-life Miss Fancy often went on night walks with her trainer in Avondale, and she was often spotted by Birminghamians brushing their teeth or walking their dog.

Bringing back our favorite elephant

The story of the Miss Fancy statue is a long one, so we did our best to summarize.

The Miss Fancy statue was born 8 years ago. When Avondale park was remodeled in 2013, the construction company donated a statue of Miss Fancy. It was a smash hit.

Tragically, the original statue was run over by a drunk driver less than a year after her installation. The damaged statue disappeared for seven years. Until now.

Miss Fancy in the bed of a truck
Miss Fancy being rescued. Photo via Leslie Smukler

Thankfully, Leslie Smukler learned from a friend that the statue was being stored under Legions Field. After a few months of investigation and rounds of approvals, Smukler drove her pickup truck to Legions field and took Miss Fancy back to Avondale.

Leslie Smukler and her team were determined to repair the damaged elephant. She created a Go Fund Me to begin the process earlier this year, and the community was right behind her.

“It does mean something to the community. That’s evidenced by the fact that, in 14 days, we raised $7,000.”

Leslie Smukler
Leslie Smukler and the man who brought Ms. Fancy back to life, Mike Chiarto. Photo courtesy of Leslie Smukler.
Leslie Smukler and the man who brought Miss Fancy back to life, Mike Chiarto. Photo courtesy of Leslie Smukler.

Smukler hired Mike Chiarto to replace Miss Fancy’s tusk and repair her cracks. Chiarto also installed a solar-powered water feature in the Miss Fancy statue. It’s sure to be the crown jewel of Avondale Park!

Miss Fancy celebration today!

The Miss Fancy mini-celebration was just rescheduled to tonight, June 18th, at 5 PM. Smukler and her team don’t want Miss Fancy’s big day to get rained out.

Miss Fancy keeps guard over the Avondale neighborhood. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.
Miss Fancy keeps guard over the Avondale neighborhood. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

There will be Miss Fancy trivia at the event. It’s sure to be a celebration of Avondale’s rich history. In addition, there will be Miss Fancy t-shirt and children’s books giveaways all evening. Stop by Avondale Park and celebrate the return of Birmingham’s iconic elephant!

Have you spotted Miss Fancy? Tag @bhamnow and join the party!

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Libby Foster
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