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Watch a life-size ice sculpture of an elephant melt in Union Square this weekend

Written by
Clayton Guse

Normally, outdoor ice sculptures are reserved for the cooler months of the year. But this Saturday, an artist is constructing a 10-foot-tall frozen statue of an African elephant in Union Square, which will melt over the course of the day.

The stunt has two purposes: draw attention to the dwindling African elephant populations and sell passersby Amarula, a South African cream liqueur that is sponsoring the event. 

Dubbed "The Disappearing Elephant," the piece will begin construction just after midnight on Friday when sculptor Shintaro Okamoto will stack more than four tons of ice into the square and sculpt the piece through the early morning. The whole thing is expected to be finished at 7am on Saturday, at which point it'll start melting, creating a powerful metaphor for the plight of African elephants (or just a big old puddle).

The event kicks off a larger campaign for Amarula, which will donate $1 to WildlifeDIRECT for every bottle of its creamy booze sold from September 1 through the end of the year. Granted, if you don't have space in your liquor cabinet for any more liqueur, you can always donate directly to WildlifeDIRECT or any number of organizations that are working to keep African elephants from going extinct. 

The sculpture will be erected at the corner of 17th Street and Broadway on the east side of Union Square. Even if you don't give a hoot about elephants (you probably should) or boozy brand activations (it's fine if you don't), we could imagine worse ways to spend your time than watching a giant ice sculpture melt in the middle of August

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