James Frank, a talented local photographer, captured the high resolution images of the Santa and Sleigh display for it's renewal.


Every time I drive through downtown Estes during this time of year, I glance up at the seasonal display on the Knoll and see the reindeer and sleigh that were recreated and reborn in our shop. That's the way it is with so many signs and projects in our community, which is a great source of pride, and strong encouragement to do better on every job!

That pressure, to do a 'good job' on sign projects that will be seen by thousands or more for many years insures our full attention when a new job comes along....

Back to Santa: it was a few years ago, and we were enlisted to preserve the iconic displays that were originally painted by local artist Buel Porter. He created a set of displays that have adorned our community for decades, and have become a part of the Estes Park experience for so many visitors and locals, as well as the backdrop for creative photos many times over. The first year I lived in Estes Park (1988), I took a picture in front of the sleigh with ambitious friends late at night. It felt adventurous at the time!

To preserve the huge piece, we opted to reproduce it, thereby stopping any further deterioration by allowing the permanent digital archiving of the original Porter artwork. Originally Porter painted 3/4" plywood that was subject to a level of abuse with annual erection and storage. Today, you'll have to touch the piece to know that it looks like painted plywood, but is a digital print mounted to a composite aluminum panel. Last year we repaired Rudolph, after it's nearly complete destruction during a 100+mph wind storm, along with some other patching. We were able to replace the artwork right back to the original file, proving that the display will never age past our original project date.


Preparing to cut the edge of the reindeer, and assemble Rudolph after the original replacements windy demise.





It will come down soon, so get your camera and head for the knoll with your kids for a picture that could be a great family tradition- to see the children grow each year as the display remains constant and unchanging.

Of note, the Town of Estes Park has vigorously maintained the other displays, although they have quietly passed the displays that are clearly religious off of their plate. The towering 16+' Jesus display on Davis Hill was transferred to the Mayo family several years ago, and the Manger display was donated to Rocky Mountain Church this year. Both those displays are now maintained privately, so they are in the community, but the Town is 'off the hook' from several perspectives for their upkeep.