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Kitsch and Tell

John Deiner

Got some big news from Hampton Hotels yesterday: The chain has dubbed 2007 the year of the "World's Largest Landmarks."

It's actually good news if you're a decrepit giant roadside attraction in need of some work.

For eight years, Hampton has been refurbishing landmarks across the country, and then promoting the bejesus out of it on its Web site devoted to the program. But I'm not complaining. Who among us hasn't been moved by this area's giant chair? I'm a huge fan of roadside crap, and I still stop to look at Lucy the Margate Elephant anytime I'm in the Atlantic City area (there's also a creepy giant woman on the road connecting the Jersey Turnpike to the Atlantic City Expressway -- I'd avoid her if I could. And don't get me started on the giant Amish couple near my mother-in-law's house in Delaware).

Hampton is asking for the help from the public (that's you) for "World's Largest" nominees. It cites some of the attractions already in its databank, including the Big Duck (a 20-foot-tall quacker in Flanders, N.Y.), the World's Largest Santa Claus (a 48-foot-tall Father Christmas sure to frazzle any youngster in North Pole, Alaska) and the Giant Prospector (he's kneeling next to a candy factory north of Carson City, Nev.)

Just go to the Web site listed above and post your nomination by clicking the Save-a-Landmark icon. If you need some help jogging your memory, check out RoadsideAmerica.com, a catch-all for everything kitschy in America.

And do share: What are your favorite ginormous things straddling the highways? Any bring back some particularly large memories?

By John Deiner |  March 8, 2007; 10:20 AM ET  | Category:  John Deiner
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The Big Merino with built-in gift shop, on the highway between Sydney and Canberra. (Actually, according to the Wikipedia link I found to provide more information, the highway has bypassed the beast so it may be on the move soon.)

see it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Merino

Posted by: Wooly Bully | March 8, 2007 11:33 AM

The Giant Peach in Gaffney, SC (it's really a water tower but it looks pretty neat along I-85).

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:18 PM

Also in South Carolina is the giant sombrero water tower at South of the Border. (Now is THAT "kitsch", or what?)

Posted by: Don't Forget Pedro | March 8, 2007 12:22 PM

My kids affectionately call the Peachoid, the "Big Butt". It is a favorite for us because it means we are almost at Grandma's house!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:25 PM

The big chicken in Marietta GA! It started my lifelong quest to visit kitschy things in America. Although, I would say a hidden gem is the town Superman statue in Metropolis, IL.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 11:57 AM

"Belly Bear" as I like to call him on top of the Polar Soda company in Worchester, MA, right next to I-290 (although that highway is not for the faint of heart!)

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 2:44 PM

Posted by: kdt | March 13, 2007 2:40 PM

It's got to be the world's largest thermometer in Baker, California. It's in the middle of the Mojave desert and marks the entrance to Death Valley. To Southern Californians, it means that you have almost reached Vegas.

Posted by: So Cal | March 13, 2007 3:21 PM

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