Center Stage Productions Brings Famed, 42-Foot Community Icon Back to Life.
Following a long, three-decade hiatus, Big Santa is once again proudly waving, welcoming thousands of holiday shoppers to Westfield Garden State Plaza. The beloved holiday season icon, missed by its community since the 1980’s, has proudly returned to the Paramus, N.J. shopping destination’s parking lot due to the impressive magic and superior craftsmanship (worthy of Santa’s elves themselves!) of Fair Lawn, N.J.-based Center Stage Productions, the industry-leading custom designer, manufacturer and installer of holiday decor which has been captivating audiences at shopping centers since 1984.
Called upon in July 2018 to take on the design, production and installation of a new and improved Big Santa to help Westfield Garden State Plaza uniquely usher in the 2018 holiday season, Center Stage Productions eagerly tackled the challenging “tall order” first by studying vintage photography of the mall’s original, iconic figure and then by designing a 3D model.
Its highly-skilled design team then went to work utilizing state-of-the art technology, including the use of a robot, to precision cut and carve the larger-than-life figure. Traditional hand carving and sculpting techniques followed, further enhancing each subtle and jolly detail. Once Big Santa’s core form had been perfected, an intense 12-week process within itself, the structure, made from foam material, was hard coated to seal it for durability and longevity. In fact, a total of 210 gallons of polyester hardcoat was ultimately used to completely cover Mr. Claus!
Using brilliant paints and durable topcoats, the firm’s team of talented airbrush artists then took over, meticulously hand painting the sculpture to accurately capture Big Santa’s unique and extra-large personality.
Installation was next on Big Santa’s list! Scheduled on November 14, 2018, a date which also saw a significant nor’easter hit the region, a memorable installation, which required a crane and boom lifts, totaled 15 hours.
Attended by Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera, Westfield executives and hundreds of spectators, Westfield Garden State Plaza’s new holiday season masterpiece was unveiled on November 20, 2018 during a special ceremony, officially illuminating him for the first time. Since then, Big Santa’s highly-anticipated return to the mall has now been marveled by thousands of Westfield Garden State Plaza holiday shoppers promising to stand in awe and delight holiday shoppers for many years to come.
The Skinny on Big Santa!
- Big Santa and his chimney together stand 42’ tall.
- He is made from 4’ x 4’x 8’ blocks of EPS foam (Styrofoam) precisely cut into 197 puzzle-like pieces.
- Eight finished parts, held together by a steel skeletal infrastructure, comprise the structure.
- It took more than 200 gallons of polyester hardcoat to seal and protect Big Santa from the elements.
- Big Santa wears a dramatic size 90 boot!