Fond Christmas tradition rekindled with a wave
Gone for years, city building Santa waves again from library lawn
Generations of Marion residents who grew up flocking to Marion City Building at Christmastime to wave back at a waving Santa display on the roof have a pleasant surprise waiting for them at Marion City Library.
The large waving Santa is back, its once inoperable arm waving again beside the little house Santa visits on the library lawn.
No one is quite sure when the city acquired the holiday piece, but it was mentioned in a description of community decorations in the Marion County Record in 1952, making it at least 65 years old.
Also unknown is when the city stopped displaying the Santa, reportedly because the motor driving the waving arm had stopped.
Jackie Crofoot remembers waving Santa from her childhood.
“I grew up watching that Santa every year,” she said. “It really hit home that it was Christmas with that Santa out.”
A few years ago, Crofoot started wondering what had happened to waving Santa.
“It wasn’t put up for a couple of years, and I asked what happened to it,” she said. “It was just in the city shop attic. I didn’t want it to just go by the side of the road because it did mean a lot to a lot of people.”
She received permission to take the piece out to her county lake home to try to get it working again. Her husband, Dave, helped move it.
“Everybody who lives in Marion over 40 remembers it,” he said. “It’s about 8 feet across; it takes three men to move it. Two can do it, but it’s easier with three.”
With the help of neighbor Lin Slifer, the motor was fixed and the Crofoots displayed the piece at their home. Santa had been repainted at some point, Jackie said, so she didn’t repaint him.
However, when they decided to move to town earlier this year, Santa couldn’t make the move.
“We were downsizing and didn’t have room to store it,” Dave said.
Jackie talked with Marty Fredrickson at the city, and they decided the library would be a place where everyone could see it, including her grandchildren and those who never have.
“I hope people will enjoy it,” Jackie said. “I hope somebody takes care of it now that it’s donated to the city, and that it can go from year to year. People care about it.”
Last modified Nov. 29, 2017