Skip to Main Content


Hot Air Rant: Why We Hate Inflatable Statues

Drive down any state highway or interstate today and one thing is clear: the age of concrete and steel is under attack. This is the era of the knockoff, throwaway, temporary inflatable. Titanic balloon tomatoes wobble atop produce stands. Giant gorillas sway from gas stations.

These hot-air humbuggeries have blossomed like fake neon in recent decades, heralds of a nation obsessed with immediate return and fearful of being caught without an exit strategy. "We need to draw eyeballs this quarter," the thiking goes. "If that big ape doesn't work, we can get rid of it quick."

Keeping the inflatable inflated.
Keeping the inflatable inflated.

Roadside America deplores this lack of civic and entrepreneurial backbone. Where, we wonder, will the bet-hedging end? With inflatable Civil War monuments? Inflatable howitzers and tanks on our courthouse lawns? If you're going to put up a giant strawberry or cow along the highway, show that your commitment is worthy of its size. Build it out of two tons of concrete! Make something that would take dynamite to bring down and a hundred thousand bucks to haul away!

When you can open a valve and make a giant chicken disappear, you might as well let the air out of America.

Note: While we don't want to encourage more towns and businesses to fall into the easy inflatable trap, there's a new set of inflatable products that simulate buildings and even infamous ships. We'd be intrigued by an inflatable motel, or even an entire town manufactured overnight from inflatables.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Route 66 Experience: Metal Muffler Man, Springfield, Illinois (May 27-Jun 2, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings