Akron to resurrect Archie at Lock 3
|Archie will make his return to Akron at the city’s Holidayfest this coming holiday season.|
|Photo courtesy of the city of Akron|
The iconic talking snowman, who delighted visitors at Chapel Hill Mall during Christmas seasons past, will be recreated at Akron’s Lock 3 Park for Holidayfest, city officials announced Aug. 14.
“There has been such an outpouring of support for Archie through Facebook that we wanted to reward the enthusiasm of so many moms and dads who want to share him with their own children,” said Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth. “Archie the Snowman will return as a symbol of winter fun and make new memories for a new generation.”
There are six Facebook pages dedicated to Archie, one with more than 6,500 fans, Lieberth said. The “Bring Back Archie the Snowman” fan page accumulated over a thousand “likes” when it was started last year by two Archie fans, Tommy Uplinger and David Burkett.
The two also found the man who designed and rebuilt the giant snowman for Chapel Hill Mall founder Dick Buchholzer. Akron resident Ra’ul Umaña has agreed to lend his skills to redesign and build Archie for Lock 3.
“Archie was created by Mr. Buchholzer, and he was attentive to every detail,” Umaña said. “One year I thought Archie’s eyes should be blue, and he quickly instructed me to change them back to the red lights that Archie was designed to have.”
Umaña also was the voice of Archie for almost 15 years and created at least three different models of the icon at Chapel Hill during his tenure, Akron officials said.
They added that when Buchholzer sold his interest in Chapel Hill Mall in 2004, the mall’s new owners retired Archie that holiday season.
The new Archie will be built by Lock 3 staff with the assistance of Uplinger, Burkett and Umaña. It will not be as tall as the original 20-foot figure. He will be displayed inside the city-owned space at the Lock 3 level of the former O’Neil’s department store building.
Archie will be reintroduced to Akron Nov. 23 during the city’s annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony, which will feature a fireworks display at Lock 3 to kick off the season.
City officials said Akron’s 10,000-square-foot ice rink — the largest seasonal rink in Ohio — would continue to have free admission, with skate rental available. A record number of 30,000-plus skaters used the rink during the 2011-12 winter season. Also returning this year will be the 150-foot sledding hill, Reindeer Run, which more than 6,000 visitors enjoyed last year.
More than 20 separate arts and entertainment events are planned to take place between Thanksgiving and First Night on New Year’s Eve, Akron officials said. Holidayfest also will feature the annual Holiday Market in the German cottages and the annual Welcome Santa parade Nov. 24.
Kathleen Folkerth contributed to this report.
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