Animal Gardens' performing parrot stars in Volkswagon commercial

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staff, Gazette
Friday, July 26, 2013

Echo the performing parrot from Animal Gardens and Dancing Horses Theater in Delavan Township is featured in a new, nationally televised Volkswagen Jetta commercial, which is part of Volkwagen's "Best Thing Ever Event" running until July 31. "What's the best thing ever? It's the Jetta, of course. Says Echo: "And who got it? This guy!" Echo performs daily at Animal Gardens. Photo submitted.

DELAVAN TOWNSHIP -- Echo, the double yellow-headed Amazon parrot, staring daily in a 30-minute, seven-parrot bird show at Lake Geneva's Animal Gardens and the Dancing Horses Theater, is featured in a commercial airing nationally for Volkswagen's Jetta. The commercial made its recent debut during NBC's broadcast of the Tour de France and is scheduled for a total of 160 spots.

"We were happily surprised and honored when a Deutsch talent scout contacted us asking about Echo's availability," theater owner Dana Montana said. "The scout remembered Echo from his time two years ago as a contestant on ‘America's Got Talent,’" she added.

Los Angeles, California-based talent agency Deutsch made the initial contact and an LA-based production company, Biscuit Filmworks, made the commercial, Montana said.

"It was produced in studios in Las Vegas," Montana said, adding that Echo, his trainer, Sarah Hoeft, and his understudy parrot, Binky, made the trip. The trio was familiar with the process, having traveled to studios in Las Vegas when they performed as semifinalist during Season Six of NBC's blockbuster event, “America's Got Talent,” Montana said.

"The parrots and I had a great time in Las Vegas when we participated in ‘America's Got Talent’ and it was fun to make a return trip for the filming of the Volkswagen Jetta commercial," Hoeft said. While she and the birds enjoy performing, Hoeft said, "It is alway a little nerve-racking when you're in front of a television camera.

"When we were on ‘America's Got Talent, we were in front of a live audience, but there was no audience for the commercial. That made this experience a little different. The birds and I learned a lot, enjoyed it all, and are glad to be back in our home venue at Animal Gardens," Hoeft said.

Echo, Binky and Hoeft can be seen daily in their own theater at the Animal Gardens Theme Park, home of the Dancing Horses Theater, 5065 Wisconsin Highway 50 in the town of Delavan. For more information about the park and its shows, visit the websites: www.thedancinghorses.com or www.animalgardens.com; or call, (262) 728-8200.

Video of the full commercial can be seen on Animal Gardens and The Dancing Horses Facebook pages.

Last updated: 9:41 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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