Sparlings, DEAMS bring animatronics to Blyth for holidays - Nov. 22, 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
DEAMS Property Management’s David and Annie Sparling wanted to make sure that Blyth’s downtown is as seasonal as possible this year with Christmas- and winter-themed animatronics.
The decorations, which can now be found in store windows throughout the village, are a labour of love and community for the Sparlings, who felt the animatronics would add a splash of vintage Christmas comfort to the village.
“We went online to find them,” David explained. “It turns out there is only one company in North America that makes them, and they are in the United States.”
Sparling explained that the company, Center Stage Productions, located in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, was transitioning to a larger project, a 45-foot Santa Claus to be specific, and offered them an opportunity to purchase what David called “the odds and sods” of their inventory.
The Sparlings purchased 14 animatronic displays, most of which are for Christmas and winter, and some of which are for Easter. The Christmas-themed ones around town range from skiers to Santa Claus to carolers. They range from 18 inches to four and a half feet tall.
“They were bigger than anticipated,” David said.
Buying the animatronics was the easy part of the process, the Sparlings said, as when Annie arrived to pick them up, they wouldn’t all fit in her car.
“There were too many and they were too big to be brought home all at once,” she said.
Fortunately, former Blyth resident Helen Kuperus, alongside her husband John, the former pastor at the Blyth Christian Reformed Church, live approximately an hour away from Center Stage Productions. Helen picked up and, after making a significant detour, delivered the figures Annie couldn’t fit in during a trip to visit family in Michigan.
The animatronics weren’t all in pristine condition, the Sparlings said, as Blyth resident Dale Porter managed any operational repairs for the devices, Pick A Posie’s Jennifer Triemstra-Johnston worked on costume repairs, the Wonky Frog repainted some figures and Blyth Printing repaired graphics on the animatronics.
“There were enough for half of the main street,” David said, adding that they are up at locations like Maple and Moose, Orr Insurance’s Blyth office, Pick A Posie and the Blyth Decor Shoppe.
The devices are on timers, and will run until approximately 8:30 p.m. each day.
As for what led the Sparlings to the displays, David explained that he and Annie were watching the film The Polar Express, which features a vintage animatronic, when the inspiration struck.