Central Minnesota town raises funds to save 'Big Ole,' giant Viking statue

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Time has not been kind to Alexandria, Minnesota's most famous resident.

But his neighbors have, if the tens of thousands of dollars they've donated to help out Big Ole are any indication.

After putting out a call for help to fix the badly aged Viking statue, the Runestone Museum – Ole's owners – say they've reached their fundraising goal of $26,500, according to the Grand Forks Herald.

And the repairs are badly needed – among the problems plaguing the towering barbarian are peeling paint, a structurally unsound cape, chipping in his fiberglass body, and a family of birds – yes, you read that right – nesting in his shoulder, the museum says.

In addition, one of the wings on Ole's viking helmet was lost in last year's brutal winter.

Ole's revitalization could end up costing even more, however, with the Grand Forks Herald noting the statue's structural problems "were worse than expected."

Still, the hope is to have the repairs finished this fall, the Voice of Alexandria reports.

The publication says the "generosity of businesses and individuals" made Ole's rescue possible.

Also providing a huge assist was the Alexandria Area Community Foundation, which extended a grant to the museum that matched donations up to $10,000, according to the museum.

Believe it or not, Ole is actually from New York. According to Roadside America, the 28-foot-tall statue was built for the 1964-65 World's Fair in the Big Apple, after which he was "trucked" to Alexandria.

Since then, he has had his share of troubles – the most notable one happened in the late 1960s, when he was dressed in a giant Santa Claus suit that went up in flames, the website says.

Next Up

Jorge Polanco

Shoemaker, Twins lineup rebounds against Tigers

Jorge Polanco homered in a 7-3 victory over Detroit.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Watch: Kaprizov's OT winner lifts Wild into 2nd place in West

Kaprizov's goal gave the Wild a 3-2 victory over the Ducks.

Byron Buxton

Buxton placed on IL, Trevor Larnach called up

Buxton could be out "for weeks" with a hip strain.

A bald eagle perched on branches.

USFWS confirms 2 bald eagles were shot dead

The agency is offering a reward for information in the case.

A newborn baby, wrapped in a blanket with its mother.

Most popular baby names includes one not in top 10 for 100 years

But Olivia and Liam once again led the way for girls and boys.

Minnesota Lottery

Names of big Minnesota Lottery winners to be kept private thanks to new law

The Minnesota Legislature passed the bill unanimously and Gov. Tim Walz signed it into law this week.

FLickr - COVID-19 vaccination - Commander, U.S. Naval Forces

All 8 state COVID-19 vaccine sites now accept walk-ins

Adults can get a no-cost vaccine without making an appointment.

Wilf

Report: Vikings owners nearing purchase of Orlando City MLS franchise

The Wilfs reportedly attempted to buy the Minnesota United expansion franchise years ago.

bemidji paul bunyan

Video shows the moment someone broke the Paul Bunyan statue's arm

Police are asking for the public's help to identify those involved.

bridgeman's food truck duluth

Last remaining Bridgeman's Restaurant is launching a food truck

The Duluth restaurant is the only remaining full-service Bridgeman's in business.

FLickr - electric drive vehicle charging - Open Grid Scheduler

Minnesota can move ahead with Clean Cars program, judge says

She recommended the proposed rules be adopted.

Related