Annabelle the Dragon unveiled in Wall

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Artist Robin Ruggierowith her newest creation “Annabelle the Dragon," in Wall Township on Saturday, July 17. PHOTO BY DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS

WALL TOWNSHIP — Members of the Wall Township Environmental Advisory Committee, Mayor Tim Farrell and Monmouth County Commissioner Nick DiRocco joined artist Robin Ruggiero at the Community Park Old Nature Self-Guided Trail July 17 to officially dedicate her newest creation Annabelle the Dragon.

“This is really incredible. It is a really great acquisition for the town and I hope we can promote and get many more people coming to see it,” Mayor Farrell said. “This is something that Wall Township really appreciates and the residents appreciate … thank you so much.”

According to committee chair Wilma Morrissey, members first came to learn of Ms. Ruggiero, of Brick Township, after she helped create a dinosaur sculpture garden in a cathedral-like grove of pine trees deep in Allaire State Park. The site, just east of the park’s Group Campground off Squankum-Allenwood Road in Wall Township, includes a T-rex, Triceratops, two Pteranodons, Stegosaurus, and even a butterfly she created stick by stick.

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“We are here to honor Robin for her creation. We saw Robin’s work at Allaire State Park and we read about it and we invited her to our meeting … and we said ‘Robin would you be interested in doing something for our environmental committee’ and Robin didn’t have to think twice. She didn’t say I’ll let you know tomorrow, right on the spot she said she would love to, so we were very happy to have her create something for us,” Ms. Morrissey said during the dedication.

So how did the idea for a dragon come about? Ms. Ruggiero felt it would complement the dinosaurs now found at Allaire State Park being enjoyed by children and adults. 

“We didn’t tell her what to create, we left that up to her, and we left the time slot up to her, so however long it took it didn’t matter,” Ms. Morrissey said.

Though an unhealthy knee presented some problems during the process, Ms. Ruggiero continued her creation, using twigs, tree limbs, twine, and some rope to help it come to fruition.

“Robin got to work on it … she did it on and off for about 10 days, spent a lot of time on it,” Ms. Morrissey said. “Robin was excited because Wall High School has the Knights as their mascot and she affiliated the knights with the dragon and it all blended into one. We are thrilled with it and she was thrilled to do it for our environmental committee and for the municipality.”

Visitors and community members can now see Annabelle the Dragon along the nature trail, which sits adjacent to the soccer fields behind the municipal complex. The park bench signifies the entrance to the trail and Annabelle can be seen near the exit between stops 10 and 11 on the half-mile trail, which along the way features periodic stops and gives visitors a brief glimpse into Wall’s rich rural past. A full copy of the brochure is available to download on the WTEAC page on the township website.

“I would honestly just like to thank everybody. I don’t even know how to express how nice it is to see everyone here. I am just blown away by it all,” Ms. Ruggiero said. “I am just so grateful and thankful and honored.”

All in attendance were eager to hear how Ms. Ruggiero goes about developing and conceptualizing her creations.

“Once I figure out what I want to do I just roam around for a couple weeks and just collect all the pieces and just stand here and stare into space and make a mental picture of what I want it to be and for people to see and I just kind of do it,” she said during the dedication, adding that the name Annabelle is in honor of her niece, as it was her birthday the day it was completed.

“Honestly I don’t even know how I do it, it really is just when I want to get something done I find a way to do it no matter what it takes and I learn as I go how to make it better each time.

“I wanted to help promote the committee’s efforts and wanted to do it for the community and if … I can inspire young girls, and anybody in general, to come out and do something like this or just know they can do anything, it is nice.”

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