Santa statue

Giant Santa (In Transition)

Field review by the editors.

Evansville, Indiana

Southern Indiana has more than its share of Christmas-themed attractions. Take this 35-foot-tall Santa Claus. He has nothing to do with the town of Santa Claus, which lies 40 miles east of Evansville.

Instead, Santa was built in 1974 by three local men: Doyle Kifer, Michael Talbert and James Reynolds III. He stood as part of an "Enchanted World of Christmas" display at the Old Courthouse in Evansville, along with a nearly-as-large King Kong who appeared to be climbing the building (Kifer had helped build Kong). We don't know what King Kong had to do with Christmas, but he must have been enchanting.

Santa was later moved to Mesker Park, near the zoo, then stood at Busler's Truck Stop for over 20 years. But by 2011 the truck stop had been demolished, and Santa's red suit had faded severely. The surrounding rubble, coupled with Santa's piercing blue eyes and flared nostrils, made him look insane.

In 2012 Santa was hauled off to a junkyard where he lay, face-down and forgotten -- until early 2016, when local resident Ron McKeethen spotted him. McKeethen launched a crowdfunding campaign to "Stand Santa Back Up," and arranged for the statue to be trucked to a warehouse where he could be repaired. Money is the lone remaining obstacle, but McKeethen hopes to have Santa up and looking good-as-new sometime in 2016.

Giant Santa

Directions:
I-64 exit 25 onto US Hwy 41. Drive south one block, on the right.
Hours:
Currently undergoing restoration.
Admission:
Free
Status:
In Transition

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April 30, 2016

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