Small-town businessman shows holiday spirit with big bales of hay each year
CHICKASHA - Small-town business owner Tim Elliott shows his Christmas spirit every year in a very big way by publicly displaying masterfully painted 6-foot in diameter, 1,200-plus-pounds of round bales of hay in displays that can measure close to 100 feet wide and 20 feet tall during the Christmas season.
The colorful bales are painted to look like traditional Christmas characters such as Santa Claus, Ms. Claus, a Christmas tree, a "Nutcracker" character and the verbiage of Merry Christmas. The bales are also painted as other colorful images and characters such as the U.S. flag, big brown bears, a blue and white spotted dog, a yellow and white female cat with a red ribbon in her hair, and even Minion movie characters.
Elliott has been displaying the large round hay bales "since around 2005" He said he got the idea from his friend and fellow businessman, local real estate investor and developer Steve LaForge.
"Steve sent me an email entitled 'What farm boys do in their spare time' and it had a bunch of pictures of what you could do and how you could stack bales," Elliott said. "So I printed them and took them to Carrie Chavers (the Chickasha High School art instructor) and she said this would be fun, so I gave the Chickasha (High School) art department $800 as a donation and they went to work. I bought all the supplies and supplied the hay."
LaForge at one point in time owned, owns, or developed most of the property the painted bales are placed on.
Now, 10 years later, Carrie Chavers local owner and instructor of Paint on Canvas does the artwork and coordinates with contractors David Stover and Marty Turner, who work for both Elliott and LaForge, to construct some of the larger painted areas such as the "solid painting of the white" on the US flag.
Chavers has taught art at Chickasha High School and has been an adjunct art professor at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma teaching set and costume design while designing sets for the USAO theater productions. In the summer Chavers is a fine arts instructor at ArtScope.
Tim said all the bales come from his land and he pays local farmer Garland Terry to cut and bale it for him.