Popejoy to the world

By on December 22, 2015

Benner’s pharmacist has giant holiday inflatable display

Walt Popejoy might have gotten a teeny bit carried away with Christmas.

Drive by his New Haven Drive home and you’ll see why.

Every afternoon, the retired pharmacist inflates his holiday inflatables. And what a show it is.

“I have been doing this for about 15 years,” says Popejoy. “It’s just a lot of fun to get into the spirit of the season.”

That’s for sure! Popejoy’s more than 60 inflatable Christmas characters line New Haven Drive in front of his home, then line up along the road as it curves toward Brubaker Road. Popejoy sets them up them up along the edge of his property, one after the other, after the other.

People driving by can’t help but stop to check them out. Neighbors walking their dogs wave hello to a freezing snowman or a smiling Rudolph. On the gray days of winter, Popejoy’s display certainly adds a touch of color.

 

More than 60 Christmas inflatables line the property of Walt Popejoy on New Haven Drive. (Photo by Laura Knowles)

More than 60 Christmas inflatables line the property of Walt Popejoy on New Haven Drive. (Photo by Laura Knowles)

 

There are reds and greens and blues and yellows. Just about everybody in the cartoon world is represented. There are Mickey and Winnie the Pooh and Frosty and Sponge Bob Square Pants. There are lots of Santas. The line-up includes: Santa on a motorcycle, Santa on a train, Santa playing cards, Santa in a snow globe, Santa coming down the chimney, Santa with his elves and Santa on the ark with animals (Wasn’t that Noah?).

An especially cool one is a snowman who actually shivers from the cold and holds a sign that says “Brrr.”

Many people remember Popejoy as the owner of Benner’s Pharmacy on East Main Street, now Café Chocolate. He filled prescriptions there for 29 years, where the famous five cent cup of coffee was a cherished tradition.

After retiring as a pharmacist at Weis Markets, Popejoy had more time for his hobbies. Little did he know that collecting holiday inflatables would be one of them. He bought his first inflatable holiday figure in 2000. It was a white igloo with a cheerful penguin popping out of the top.

After that, he couldn’t stop. He kept adding more. This year he added four more, including his grandson’s cherished yellow Minion character.

“He told me I’d better get a Minion,” says Popejoy. “So I did what I was told.”

Most of Popejoy’s inflatables come from Lowe’s. In fact, Popejoy rushed over to Lowe’s on Black Friday to fulfill his grandson’s request when he saw an ad for a Minion in the paper. He was too late. They were sold out. So Popejoy ordered it online. That’s how he gets the rest of them.

Every day, Popejoy inflates his display. Using a system with cords, hoses and fans, it only takes a few minutes to puff them up. He deflates them all at night and in rainy or windy weather.

“So this is what I have been up to since leaving Benner’s,” he jokes.

Laura Knowles is a freelance reporter for the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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