Haverhill residents got their first glimpse of the giant fiberglass shoes that will be placed throughout the city and most had only one word to describe each one of them — amazing.
Fourteen of the 15 shoes, all painted by local and regional artists, school teachers, and students, made their first public debut at the Fourth of July celebrations at Haverhill Stadium on Sunday night, receiving unanimous approval from spectators.
"They are so entertaining. Who knew a that a shoe could look like that," said Janice Clevesy of Haverhill.
The Merrimack Valley Federal Credit Union shoe was not on display because it will be finished later next week.
Rylee, 9, and Billy Amand, 8, of Haverhill enjoyed posing for pictures in front of the huge sculptures. Rylee said her favorite shoes were "A Weitzman Family Affair" by artist Elizabeth Persing and "The Pursuit of Fashion" by the Nordstrom Design Crew.
Grace Marcoux, of the Winnekenni Foundation, said the shoes were absolutely beautiful.
"It's one thing to see them in pictures but to see them in person is just amazing. They are so well done," Marcoux said.
Soles of Haverhill Committee members Tim Jordan and Leota Sarrette were pleased with the show of support from city residents.
"It's an incredible turnout and its so great to see the diversity in each shoe. The sketches all looked great but to see the designs actually on the shoes is absolutely amazing. They all look incredible," Jordan said.
Sarrette said most of the shoes will be placed throughout the city by the end of the week.
The completed "Weitzman Family Affair" shoe will be displayed in the atrium of the Hamill Lofts as it will be adorned with Swarovski crystals, emeralds, sapphires and ruby rhinestones and cannot be left outside. It was designed by celebrity shoe designer Stuart Weitzman and his family. Weitzman's father, Seymour, operated a shoe factory on Essex Street until his death in 1965.
"Ya Gotta Haverhill," sponsored by dentist Dr. Alan M. Gonick, will be placed outside his office at 122 Kenoza Ave., while Pentucket Bank's shoe, "Pentucket, place by the Winding River," can be seen at the intersection of Main and Merrimack streets.
The Discovery Club After School Program's shoe, "Merry Mac, Haverhill's Rollicking River Monster," is set to go into Columbus Park on Washington Street, and "Phoenix, 1882," sponsored by the Haverhill Fire Department Credit Union, can be found at the credit union at 75 Kenoza St.
"The Pursuit of Fashion," sponsored by Nordstrom, will be showcased at the North Shore Mall. All other shoes will also be placed among the downtown area.
The Hamill Mills Lofts/Forest City has agreed to be a major sponsor and will donate funds to make 7,000 maps showing where in the city the shows will be "shoe-cased" throughout the summer.
In the fall, the 6-foot-tall fiberglass shoes will be auctioned, with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit organizations associated with each shoe and sponsor. Some of the money will go back to the Soles of Haverhill Committee as it plans its next public art installation.
For more information on the Soles of Haverhill Committee or any of the finished shoes, visit www.solesofhaverhill.com.