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Cincinnati Zoo unveils massive 24-foot-tall Fiona nutcracker for Festival of Lights

Fiona the hippo nutcracker
Posted at 4:36 PM, Nov 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-03 16:36:23-04

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is hosting its 40th annual Festival of Lights, and to celebrate the zoo unveiled a giant Fiona nutcracker that sits at the zoo's main entrance.

The Festival of Lights begins in two weeks, and the giant nutcracker can't be missed for those that visit the zoo.

"The nutcracker is truly unique," said Chad Yelton, the zoo's vice president of marketing and visitor experience.

The spectacle, which was put together by COST of Wisconsin, sits at 24 feet tall and 8 feet wide.

The nutcracker took 12 people around 1,650 hours to make the vision come to life, Yelton said.

Watch a time-lapse of the crew putting the Fiona nutcracker together:

Fiona the hippo nutcracker time lapse

There are also fun hidden "Easter eggs" on the nutcracker that tell Fiona's story.

Some of the hidden details include six slices of watermelon on her belt to represent Fiona being born six weeks pre-mature — also she loves watermelon.

The nutcracker also has 29 buttons on her coat for her birthweight of 29 pounds, and none other than Fritz, Fiona's younger brother, is painted on her toenail.

"There are other items of significance on the structure, which is made of steel and fiberglass, but we'll let people have fun finding those on their own," Yelton said.

The zoo's Festival of Lights kicks off Nov. 18 for everyone to enjoy the holiday winter wonderland. Zoo members enter for free, and general admission tickets can be purchased here.

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