WOW sculpture

The WOW trail is about to get its first sculpture in honor of the Beetle family, which has been a driving force behind the recreational pathway. Inside the trail's triangular logo,  the steel sculpture depicts a ladybug on an adult hand that is about to be transferred to a child’s hand. (Adam Drapcho/The Laconia Daily Sun photo)

GILFORD — Richard Vickery has never had a project quite like this.

As president of Weld-Fab Technologies in Gilford, he frequently repairs and fabricates metal and steel. He recently he got a chance to do something a little more artistic.

Vickery has created the first sculpture for the WOW Trail: A ladybug on an adult hand that is about to be transferred to a child’s hand, depicted in a steel sculpture that includes the triangular logo for the trail, named for the waters of Winnipesaukee, Opechee and Winnisquam.

The employees of Patrick’s Pub & Eatery decided to have the sculpture made to honor the Beetle family, hence the ladybug. Jeff and Allan Beetle opened the restaurant 25 years ago.

Megan Page, the pub’s general manager, said the owners treat their employees well.

Every year, there is a staff outing — a day of fun usually spent at the Naswa Resort. This year, Page toyed with the idea of ziplining.

“Allan said, ‘Let’s do both,’” she said. “He does so much for us, I decided I’d love to do something for him. I talked to the staff about ideas, and we reached out to Gretchen Gandini.”

Gandini is the former executive director of the WOW Trail organization. Allan Beetle is president.

“She’s the one who talked about some type of sculpture,” Page said.

The Meredith Sculpture Walk provided inspiration. A pub staff member drew up the design, including the ladybug.

Vickery has welded the 2-foot sculpture onto a 9-foot pole, which will be inserted into a sleeve that will be placed in the cement at the top of the stairs coming up from the parking lot at the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa, near the Lakeport section of the public pedestrian and bicycling trail.

The steel will be allowed to rust naturally, a process that has been given a jump start with the help of Vickery’s spray bottle.

He described how he made the sculpture.

“I went online and saw pictures of hands,” he said in his shop Tuesday. “I traced them and plasma-cut them out.

“It looks real nice in the air. When you look at it on the bench, it’s like, ‘Jeez, I don’t know,’ and then you stand it up and look at it and it really makes a difference.”

Page provided the red metal beetle, which is protected with a clear coat sealer.

Vickery said the sculpture should have good longevity.

“A regular tin can last almost 50 years,” he said. “This will last hundreds of years.”

The City Council on Tuesday night was set to accept the donation of the statue.

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