GALLIPOLIS — Just what does it take to make Santa’s sleigh?
Garry Stover, owner of the Santa Sleigh project, first got the idea last December during a visit to the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas in east Tennessee. After a little research, he decided to see if his dream was possible. So, on January 29, 2016, he found and purchased a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle at Rio Grande. The Santa Sleigh project began. The sleigh would eventually be displayed in the Gallipolis annual Christmas Parade.
Dwayne Caldwell, who is involved in vehicle maintenance for “On the Go” and Reagan Sharrett busied themselves with the first task; the amputation of the vehicle’s roof. Reagan, Dwayne and Earl Caldwell transported the vehicle to Oak Hill where Amish craftsmen built the sleigh body and upholstered the bench and seats. The project took several months to complete. The project was then transported to Mercerville where Dan Stapleton painted the new sled. He test drove it around Mercerville.
Sleigh project participants were set on finding realistic reindeer for their sleigh. They would eventually find “rearing” reindeer imported from a business in South Hampton, N.Y. After being ordered in October, they took six weeks to arrive.
Robie’s Trailers in Rodney attached the reindeer and built the runners the runners for the sleigh as well as addressing a few mechanical issues.