BELFAST — One order came from a man who wanted a fiberglass cat clinging to a fiberglass pillow to mount atop his Cadillac.

Another came from a Connecticut man who had to have a giant, $14,000 mastodon for his front lawn.

Yet another from the University of Texas at Austin, looking for the world’s largest longhorn steer.

Each time, Mike Hurley delivered. Anything can come to life at his Fiberglass Farm.

Hurley, a former Belfast mayor and current city councilor, said his business was inspired by a trip to Chicago and its “Cows on Parade” a decade ago.

“I’m very much interested in downtown revitalization. I said, ‘Wow, this is it’ and came back and organized Belfast Bearfest,” he said.

Hunting around later to find 50 fiberglass bears — no simple feat — Hurley said he made good contacts. After Belfast’s success, other cities turned to him for help pulling off their own animal parades.

“People wound up coming to me, which has led me to do over 100 cities now around the country,” Hurley said.

He doesn’t make the fiberglass sculptures, but works with a network of six or so artists across the country who do. He acts as go-between, keeping buyer and artist happy, and uses a discerning eye. Hurley was recently behind Rumford’s new fiberglass Babe the Blue Ox. He asked the artist to repaint the animal twice before showing it to town officials. It just wasn’t the right blue.

“‘His legs are too long,’ ‘his ass looks like it’s puckered up’ — they don’t like to hear that stuff, but that’s what I do,” he said.

People find him through word of mouth and the Internet. Without the ‘Net, a little business like his in Maine wouldn’t be possible, he said.

“We’re pretty unusual in the world. We’ve delivered pieces to England, France, Spain, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong,” he said.

One day last week, he heard from a California company looking for a bucking horse for its roof and a New Zealand beach resort that wanted a komodo dragon.

Projects have ranged from $200 to $40,000.

While businesses and community parades make up the bulk of business, those aren’t the orders that necessarily stand out.

“A kooky Texan” ordered the cat on the pillow, sending Hurley a picture of his own cat to get the look-alike just right. A New York couple ordered a life-size long-haired Scottish cow to stand in their 3-acre pasture; they’d become enamored with the cattle on vacation.

Several years ago, Hurley provided the tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that appeared in the movie “Night at the Museum.”

“It was a blind-buy. They were very careful not to tell us what it was for,” Hurley said. He didn’t discover the T-rex was destined for a movie until delivering the enormous piece to the shoot location in Vancouver. “We were very proud of it, but we wished they would have told us — we would have charged them double.”

Hurley said the Fiberglass Farm has also built about a dozen military mascots. Often bulldogs, some screaming eagles. Working on one order for an Air Force base, he once had a commanding general call up and complain: “I like this bull, but his balls aren’t big enough.”

So, Hurley delivered on that, too.

“The funny part of that now is, we’ve done a fair amount of these mascots, I always have to broach the subject right up front about the size of the maleness,” he said. “Most of them decline to go big.”

Weird, Wicked Weird is a monthly feature on the strange, intriguing and unexplained in Maine. Send photos, ideas and snarling, cotton ball monsters to [email protected]


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