Waving Santa tradition lives on

Waving Santa tradition lives on
Eric Faircloth has been setting up the display since 2011. (Source: WALB)
Eric Faircloth has been setting up the display since 2011. (Source: WALB)
Walter Flint (right) was the original creator of the waving Santa. (Source: WALB)
Walter Flint (right) was the original creator of the waving Santa. (Source: WALB)
This is from the display when it was at Flint's home on 3rd Avenue. (Source: WALB)
This is from the display when it was at Flint's home on 3rd Avenue. (Source: WALB)

LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - The waving Santa Clause has been set up in the Albany-area for nearly half a century, and it continues to be an annual tradition.

"Ever since we started doing it, I've had up to three generations of kids, family coming by, taking pictures of Santa Clause in the car," explained Eric Faircloth, the owner of Faircloth and Sons on Highway 82 in Leesburg.

Faircloth took over the Santa display in 2011 as a favor to a good friend. But the tradition began long before it was set-up outside his establishment.

It was Mr. Walter Flint who created the waving Santa and light display more than four decades ago. He set it up every year at his home on 3rd Avenue.

In 2007 Flint's display even made its way onto the Easter Seal's ornament.

"The first year we put it out, Mr. Walter came by and said, 'Just make sure everybody knows that I started it,'" laughed Faircloth. He said he told Flint everybody knew and would never forget who started it.

Flint told people he made the original Santa out of paper mache. And for the motion of Santa's arm, he used a record player.

"Having a moving Christmas ornament 40 years ago is different," said Faircloth. "And he did it year after year until it stuck to this day. Now I'm afraid people might be upset if we quit having it."

Mr. Flint passed away in March at 93-years-old, making this year even more special for Faircloth to put the display together.

"We wanted him to be recognized because he truly started this," said Faircloth.

The Santa himself has changed over time. A windshield wiper motor now moves his arm. But the old Porsche, with fresh red paint, is still Santa's ride, as Mr. Walter Flint's display continues to make people smile.

Faircloth said he plans to take the display down after Christmas, but hopes to set up the display again next year.

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