Santa's Land: The Purple Plum Man
In measuring the relative health of a tourist attraction, we occasionally earmark one special item for scrutiny on return visits. For S.O.B. it's whether the sombrero tower elevator is operational (and not whether the bathrooms are clean); for Weeki Wachee it's whether the mermaids still slurp bottled soft drinks underwater.
For Vermont's Santa's Land USA, that dipstick has been the Purple Plum Man.
So you can imagine our panic this summer when we spotted him from the road, behind a fence, appearing relegated to a distant storage area instead of at the center of topsy-turvy holiday action.
As it turned out, he's still in the park, just a more remote spot, about halfway to Pancake Junction near the railroad tracks. We inspected him up close -- his arms and legs were cracked and in need of repair. His wooden sign was shoved behind his right arm, balanced on the Alien pod where he perches. We temporarily repositioned the sign and took a photo (see above right).
Back at Roadside Headquarters, we compared the statue with a photo taken in 1985 (see left). In all honesty we can't say that the Purple Plum Man looks any worse than he did thirty years ago. In some ways, he seems more fit now -- ready for the rebirth of Santa's Land USA....