Harlem's Oliver Hardy Festival put the city on the map. Now, Hardy's image on the city's water tower has put the town on a calendar.
Harlem's water tower, which bears the image of its most famous son, is the tower of the month for January in the Wow! Wild Water Towers 2008 calendar. The wall calendar is produced by the nonprofit Community Resource Group for the Rural Community Assistance Partnership's Safe Drinking Water Trust.
"I've heard of barns and maybe cars and other things (on a calendar), but never water towers," said City Councilman Tom Blalock.
Though he said it was wonderful to have the city's symbol on a calendar, Blalock conceded a water tower calendar might face stiff competition in sales from other pinup annuals.
"I don't think we can compete with Sports Illustrated ," he said jokingly.
Melissa Jones, an editor for the Fayetteville, Ark.-based partnership, said she browsed photo-sharing Web sites such as flickr.com to find images of unique water towers. Harlem's tower, which features Hardy's smiling, rotund face, joins towers from Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Kuwait, India, France and Denmark.
"We thought it would be a fun way to show off some very unique water towers, and also to get our name out," Jones said.
The calendar also features facts about the city, the annual Oliver Hardy Festival and the comedian.
Proceeds from the sale of the $9.99 calendar will raise money for the partnership, which assists rural communities with providing safe drinking water. The calendar is available for purchase online at www.watertrust.org, www.crg.org, and www. amazon.com.
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