CowParade comes to San Luis Obispo: Are You Ready to Hit the Cow Trails?

September 26, 2016 in BLOG, California, Travel - 66 Comments
Micow Distillery. CowParade, 4-H for the art scene. Fiberglass cows painted by artists, celebrities and designers auctioned for charity. CowParade SLO. TravelingWellForLess.com

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Cows and art? Yep, it’s a thing. And it’s called CowParade. CowParade is like 4-H for the art scene. Instead of live cows sold at auction, you can buy a fiberglass cow decorated by a famous artist, celebrity, or designer. All proceeds go to charity. You get a unique creation and a non-profit gets extra funds. A win all around. You can see these unique creations on the “Cow Trails” in San Luis Obispo through May 2017.

CowParade, 4-H for the art scene. Fiberglass cows painted by artists, celebrities and designers auctioned for charity. CowParade SLO. TravelingWellForLess.com

CowParade

cowparade
CowParade is mooving along…

Hosted in 79 cities around the world, the CowParade is considered “the largest and most successful public art event in the world.”

Life-sized fiberglass cows in three shapes (grazing, reclining, and standing) are decorated and displayed in various locations in the host city. The cows are sold at auction to raise money for charity. 2,500 cows have been created by artists, designers, and celebrities such as Kate Spade, Peter Max, Ronnie Wood, James Rizzi, Man One, and Radiohead.

Fun fact: A mosaic cow, Wage Moo, sold for $146,00 in 2003.

CowParade SLO

Blank fiberglass cow. Slo motion. Man One. TravelingWellForLess.com
SLO Motion blank canvas

San Luis Obispo hosted CowParade SLO at the Madonna Inn where Los Angeles based graffiti artist Man One live painted a cow alongside his biggest fan, local young artist Dylan Ehmke on September 17, 2016.

Man One & Dylan Ehmke at CowParade SLO. TravelingWellForLess.com
Dylan Ehmke and Man One painting their cows

I was in San Luis Obispo that weekend and CowParade SLO was a rare sight to see. The creativity that went into designing each udderly unique cow was so mooving. It gave me a butter appreciation and brand new perspective on art.  🙂

Here are a few of the cows that stood out among the herd:

Complete with a grate, Marilyn Moonroe was a crowd pleaser.

Marilyn Moonroe at CowParade SLO. TravelingWellForLess.com
Marilyn Moonroe

Picowso

Picowso at CowParade SLO. TravelingWellForLess.com
Homage to Picaso

Steam Punk Bessie

Steam Punk Bessie, CowParade SLO. TravelingWellForLess.com
Who ya calling punk?

Moonipero Serra

moo-nipero-serra
On a mission

Starry Night

Starry Night Cow, CowParade SLO. TravelingWellForLess.com
It was a dark and starry night

Cowch Cow

Cowch cow. CowParadeSLO.
Have a seat

Dia de los Moouertos

Dia de los Moouertos
Dia de los Moouertos

Clarabelle

Callable the Wine Cow. CowParadeSLO.
If wine making could only be that simple.

Poke-a-Cow

Poke-a-cow at CowParade SLO. Traveling Well For Less.com
Visit SLO and hit the CowParade SLO cow trails. Can you catch them all?

CowParade San Luis Obispo Cow Trails

Missed CowParade SLO? You can see the cows on display throughout San Luis Obispo County through May 2017.

Stop by the San Luis Obispo Visitor Center to pick up a map or use the Interactive Cow Trails Map on the CowParadeSLO website.

The San Luis Obispo Visitor Center is located at 895 Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday to Wednesday. And 10 am to 7 pm, Thursday to Saturday.

Uploading photos to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat? Remember to tag them with #shareslow and #cowparadeslo.

Pin this to your travel, vacation, art, or California board:

CowParade, 4-H for the art scene. Fiberglass cows painted by artists, celebrities and designers auctioned for charity. CowParade SLO. TravelingWellForLess.com

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Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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66 Comments

  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Jennifer Van Huss September 26, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Those are so cute! We have mooses all around the city in Toronto! They are quite the tourist attraction!!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      Hi Jennifer Van Huss,

      Awesome, thanks. I’m definitely going to revisit Toronto and look for those moose.

  • Amanda Simkin September 26, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    What a fun way to incorporate art into daily life. This happens often in Chicago….we have had cows, horses, butterflies, you name it. My kids (and me too!) think it is such a fun way to enjoy art.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      Hi Amanda Simkin,

      You’re right, it is a fun way to enjoy art. I love Chicago, will have to look for more of the art the next time I visit.

  • Eloise September 26, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    those are really fun to look at, love the stary night one, and the butterfly one is pretty cool too! I’d like to take my kids there some day to see them all 🙂

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      Hi Eloise,

      You definitely should visit. The cows will be there until next year so you have lots to time to plan a trip. I only posted a few of the photos.

  • Dogvills September 27, 2016 at 1:43 am

    This cow parade looks so fun. I love how colorful they painted them. I’m sure this is so fun to watch.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:27 pm

      Hi Dogvills,

      Thanks. It was a fun event. I’m looking forward to going back and searching for them throughout the city.

  • Nikki September 27, 2016 at 5:48 am

    What a fun place! I’m sure my kids would love these art! It has a lot of beautiful view.,

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      Hi Nikki,

      Your kids will love it. There are several miny moos or children sized cows.

  • Nancy L. September 27, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Oh my goodness! I would love to visit San Luis Obispo when the CowParade is there. The cows are decorated so beautifully! I love the butterfly cow. Wow! I’m going to have to check for flights!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      Hi Nancy L,

      Yes, please do. You’ll love San Luis Obispo. Great food, casual atmosphere, and lots to see and do.

  • Chubskulit Rose September 27, 2016 at 7:38 am

    What a fun event this i-s. I lo=ve the cow with the blue paintings on it, so beautiful!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Hi Chubskulit Rose,

      The Starry Night cow is pretty cool. It’s hard to choose a favorite.

  • Nancy @ whispered inspirations September 27, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Those are some great art work! Wish the would come to our city.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Hi Nancy @ whispered inspirations,

      Have you city submit a proposal and maybe the Cow Parade will decide to visit. 🙂

  • Up Run for Life September 27, 2016 at 11:02 am

    This looks like an interesting outing. I love finding unique places to visit with my family. Those cows are cute too.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:32 pm

      Hi Up Run For Life,

      That’s my favorite part of traveling too – finding those hidden gems and unique places and things to do. Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  • Melissa Dixon September 27, 2016 at 11:53 am

    That is so cool! I love cows! Here in Iowa they have the American Gothic couple set up all over Cedar Rapids painted differently at each business.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      Hi Melissa Dixon,

      Happy you enjoyed the post. Now I’m going to have to visit Cedar Rapids to check out the American Gothic sculptures.

  • Kathy September 27, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    This sounds like such a fun event. How neat those cows are! I can’t believe all those designs. They’re amazing!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks, so glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  • Jesica H September 27, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Our community does something like this but they are large pelicans and they put them all over the town!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      Hi Jesica H,

      Large pelicans would be fun to see. Where is that?

  • jennifer September 27, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    this is so cool! reminds me of the painted horses in kentucky. i love cows and art so this combines both!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:36 pm

      Hi Jennifer,

      Happy you liked the post. Next time I’m in Kentucky, I’ll have to look for those painted horses.

  • Amber Killmon September 28, 2016 at 12:48 am

    These are so cool! I never knew anything like this was a thing, it’s definitely awesome.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:36 pm

      Hi Amber Killmon,

      Thanks, glad you liked the post. 🙂

  • Lynndee September 28, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Wow! That is awesome! Those cows are so cool! If only we lived close, we will definitely go there and check those cows out!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:37 pm

      Hi Lynndee,

      They are pretty cool! Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  • CourtneyLynne September 28, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Omg how fun!!! I just had to is my daughter all of your cow picks! She’s 4 and cows are her favorite animal lol

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Hi CourtneyLynne,

      Aaah, hope your daughter liked seeing all the cows.

  • Ryan Biddulph September 28, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Debra,

    Seems like a really fun time for a fun cause and no actual cows were hurt or sold in the process. Win-win-win all around. Having been to 1 4-H fair I prefer this one. If only for the lack of barnyard smells with faux cows dotting the grounds 😉 Either way, really cool event.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Ryan

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:39 pm

      Hi Ryan Biddulph,

      I totally agree, win-win for everyone. Plus it’s such a great way to bring the community together.

      Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • Terri Beavers September 28, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Oh how fun and I love the art work. I’ve never heard of a cowparade but I’m sure I’d enjoy myself.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      Hi Terri Beavers,

      You most definitely would. Glad you liked the post.

  • Claudia Krusch September 29, 2016 at 5:08 am

    This cow parade looks so much fun. I love how colorful they’ve painted the cows!!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      Hi Claudia Krusch,

      It was a lot of fun. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  • Alyssa C September 29, 2016 at 5:34 am

    I have a secret obsession with cows and that Starry night Cow is definitely my favorite! Thank you for sharing

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Alyssa C,

      Happy you liked the post. The Starry Night cow is one of my favorites too. 🙂

  • Marielle Altenor September 29, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    What? I want the cow parade to come to my town too! Would be so fun to paint a cow!!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      Hi Marielle Altenor,

      You’re right, it would be fun to paint one of the cows. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • Jessica Simms September 29, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    I’ve never heard of such a thing before, but I know my kids would have a blast visiting a cowparade like this.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:43 pm

      Hi Jessica Simms,

      Your kids would have so much fun. The kids really enjoyed all the cows, especially the mini moos (kid sized versions).

  • Shaney Maharaj September 30, 2016 at 2:35 am

    Wow I’ve never come across any event like this yet! This looks so cool. Now we definitely need to have one in South Africa. Bring them to Africa! 😉

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      Hi Shaney Maharaj,

      It was cool. I’m sure the Cow Parade would love to come to South Africa. 🙂

  • Chrishelle Ebner September 30, 2016 at 5:34 am

    What a fun event. I love the Starry Night cow, but they are all so amazing. How cool that you got to design your own cow work of art.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      Hi Chrishelle Ebner,

      Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  • Alina Popescu October 1, 2016 at 7:10 am

    This looks so cool! We’ve had the parade in Bucharest for a couple of years, but idiot people damaged the beautiful cows, so they stopped coming here. Would love to see them in some other part of the world.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Hi Alina Popescu,

      🙁 Oh,no. That’s a bummer. Such a shame that people can’t appreciate art but destroy it instead. Maybe they’ll eventually come back to Bucharest.

  • Annie October 1, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    I like the ones that are standing up haha.. something different! It’s always cool to see these types of art in cities, I wish more would do it.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Hi Annie,

      Yeah, the standing up ones are pretty fun. Definitely out of the ordinary. Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  • Chrysoula October 2, 2016 at 1:24 am

    What a fun event and with a good cause! The cows look lovely so nicely decorated. I would happily have one in my house!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      Hi Chrysoula,

      It would be fun to have a painted cow. So glad you liked the post. 🙂

  • Maddy October 2, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Starry night is my favourite cow I think! I never knew this was a thing and now I want to buy one!!

  • Lesley October 2, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    So bizarre but really unique. I love San Luis Obispo and the “bizarre” there like the gum wall. My favorite is the Steam Punk Bessie.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      Hi Lesley,

      That’s the cool thing about San Luis Obispo, it’s not quite a typical city. Steam Punk Bessie is pretty cool. 🙂

  • melody pittman October 3, 2016 at 5:47 am

    This is so cool! I visited SLO earlier this spring (my first time) and was so impressed with this awesome city. Now the Cow Parade…wow! I wonder if this is a new exhibit because I’ve never heard or read about it before. Definitely a fun city to make a stop in. Loved all of your photos.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      Hi Melody,

      Thanks, glad you liked the photos. Yep, it’s a new exhibit that debuted the middle of September.

      It’s a temporary exhibit so you’ll want to revisit SLO by May 2017.

  • Anne Klien ( MeAnne) October 5, 2016 at 2:49 am

    Definitely a great day out for the kids. Those colourful cows looks so cute and good for photography day!

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:54 pm

      Hi Anne Klein (MeAnne),

      Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  • Carol Colborn October 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

    This looks like so much fun and lots of color! We will try to go to the next one! Thanks.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Carol Colburn,

      Glad you liked the post. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • Megan October 5, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    How fun! I hadn’t heard about this before but sure it was a good time. I like the one that’s also a bench.

    • Debra Schroeder November 1, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      Hi Megan,

      Cowch Cow was one of my favorites too. Cool, artistic, and practical. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

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