Birthplace of Big Tex - Kerens, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member QuarrellaDeVil
N 32° 07.691 W 096° 13.619
14S E 761605 N 3558013
Kerens, TX is the birthplace of State Fair icon, Big Tex, and this sign tells all about it, placed just a few blocks from where Big Tex originally stood in 1949.
Waymark Code: WMN9AZ
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 01/24/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 5

The sign has Big Tex's face at the top, with the following text:

Kerens, Texas is known as the "Birthplace of Big Tex", although his original incarnation was as a 49 foot tall Santa Claus constructed from iron drill casing and paper mache in 1949. The statue was an idea of Howell Brister, manager of the Chamber of Commerce, to encourage holiday sales in town. The "World's Largest Santa Claus" stood on the corner of SW 3rd and Colket Avenue for two holiday seasons, one year inside a chimney to keep his pants from blowing off, drawing media attention from as far away as Australia. Modeled after Kerens residents, Ottis F. Spurlock and Hardy P. Mayo, the figure was a town project built by the entire community who welded the frame, fabricated the body, sewed the clothing and unraveled rope for the beard. After two seasons, excitement around the statue faded and in 1951, State Fair President R.L. Thornton purchased Santa for $750 and had artist Jack Bridges transform Santa into a cowboy, giving birth to "Big Tex".

Big Tex traveled to his hometown of Kerens, Texas in 1981 to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the city. Big Tex continues to be a marketing icon of the annual State Fair of Texas at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas but big Texas knows where home is.

Kerens Beautification Committee
Jeffrey Saunders, Mayor 2014

There are some photos of Big Tex in his Santa Claus incarnation here. (visit link) University Park (Dallas) resident Wayne Smith owns the original Big Tex head, and it has been part of Smith's Christmas display for several years now (link now broken). (visit link)
Group that erected the marker: Kerens Beautification Committee

URL of a web site with more information about the history mentioned on the sign: [Web Link]

Address of where the marker is located. Approximate if necessary:
S Colket Ave & SE 4th St
Kerens, TX USA

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