Shillito's Elves at Newport on the Levee
Once the crowning holiday jewel of Shillito's Department store, the Santa's Workshop displays featured dozens of scenes with hundreds of animatronic elves going ceaselessly about their Christmas tasks. The exhibit drew as many as 100,000 visitors at its peak of popularity, only to be packed away in 1982 when the store went through a merger. They saw the light of day – and Christmas lights – once again in 2005, when Bill Spinnenweber acquired the collection at auction, with an eye toward fully restoring the machines to the pristine glory they enjoyed when created 50 years earlier. He got the community behind him, and they raised more than $22,000 to dust off cobwebs and restore motors. Now, the classic Christmas scenes of Shillito's Elves come to Newport on the Levee for new generations to enjoy.