“Archie the Snowman” to Make Return at Holidayfest | Community Spirit
AKRON, OH - The City of Akron will again host thousands of ice skaters, sled riders, gift seekers and families this winter at the 9th annual Holidayfest at Lock 3.
New this year will be an attraction familiar to thousands of older residents – Archie the Snowman - a reliable holiday memory for residents who grew up after Chapel Hill Mall opened in 1967.
“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 Dave Lieberth, Akron’s Deputy Mayor who created the first Holidayfest in 2004. “Archie the Snowman will return as a symbol of winter fun and make new memories for a new generation.”
Archie will be re-introduced to Akron on Friday, November 23 during the city’s annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony featuring a spectacular pyrotechnic and fireworks display in Lock 3 on the day after Thanksgiving.
Akron’s 10,000 square foot ice rink - the largest seasonal rink in Ohio - will continue to have free admission, with skate rental available. A record number of 30,000+ skaters used the rink during the 2011-2012 winter season. Also returning this year will be the 150-foot sledding hill that was enjoyed by more than 6,000 youngsters last year.
Holidayfest is Downtown Akron’s winter celebration, with more than twenty separate arts and entertainment events scheduled between Thanksgiving and First Night, and also features the annual Holiday Market in the German cottages and the annual “Welcome Santa” parade.
ARCHIE THE TALKING SNOWMAN
“The idea for the return of Archie was brought to us a little too late for us to build him
in 2011,” said Lieberth. “But clearly, there is a great public demand to see Archie again.”
No fewer than six Facebook pages are dedicated to Archie, one with over 6,500 fans. The "Bring Back Archie the Snowman" Fan Page accumulated over a thousand ‘likes” when it was opened last year, thanks to two dedicated Archie fans, Tommy Uplinger and David Burkett. They also found the man who designed and re-built the giant snowman for Chapel Hill founder Dick Buckholzer. Akron resident Ra’ul Umaña has agreed to lend his skills to redesigning and rebuilding Archie for Lock 3.
“Archie was created by Mr. Buckholzer, and he was attentive to every detail,” said Umaña. “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 was also the voice of Archie the Talking Snowman for almost 15 years and created at least three different models of the icon at Chapel Hill during his tenure.
Buckholzer sold his interest in Chapel Hill Mall in 2004. The Mall’s new owners retired Archie that holiday season.
The “new” Archie the Talking Snowman 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-footer. Archie will be displayed inside the city-owned space at the Lock 3 level of the former O’Neil’s Department store building.