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What's Up Magazine

Guiding Sleighs and Christmas Wishes

Dec 13, 2013 02:44PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Story and Photos by Rebekah Elliott

Santa Claus may not be coming to town for another week or so, but his good friend Rudolph is already here in Easton.

He sits bright-eyed and with a wide grin above Talbottown Shopping Center, measuring more than 14 feet tall and weighing about 300 pounds. In his hoof, he holds a large, orange phone, which makes sense considering below, perched just outside of Bountiful, is a festively decorated phone booth. It’s here that the wide-eyed young and young at heart can share their Christmas wishes with the red-nosed reindeer, who in turn will pass along their requests to jolly, ol’ St. Nick.

The display is almost an exact replica of one that sat in Talbottown between the 1950s and 1970s, according to Hugh Grunden, president and CEO of Easton Utilities. The original idea is largely credited to the efforts of George Taylor, the distribution superintendent for Easton Utilities, Grunden said. The reason behind Rudolph’s disappearance, however, remains unknown.

With Easton Utilities on the cusp of its centennial, Grunden said the company contemplated various ways to recognize the town’s successful history of building rich traditions. “So to kick off our centennial celebration, we chose to bring Rudolph back as an early Christmas present to the community and to rekindle a tradition that had been missing for more than 30 years,” he said.

A lifelong resident of Easton, Grunden has a vivid recollection of the original Rudolph. Seeing the larger-than-life character at the December 7th unveiling celebration was a welcome trip down memory lane.

Despite the cold, wet weather, the event drew nearly 400 excited individuals of all ages. As they anxiously awaited Rudolph’s return, Easton Utilities employees, dressed from head to toe in Christmas apparel, distributed furry antlers and flashing red noses, immediately adorned by both young and old observers.

Following an enthusiastic countdown, the illuminated Rudolph was welcomed back to Easton with roaring applause, delighted cheers, and, of course, the classic Christmas tune honoring the brightly lit character’s namesake.

The display, sponsored by The Star Democrat and Talbottown Shopping Center, is set to remain an annual tradition, Grunden said, adding that he already stopped by the phone booth to chat with Rudolph. “I gave him my Christmas list, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Santa puts under my tree this year,” he said lightheartedly.  

Rudolph will remain on display until after New Year’s Day. The phone booth will run until Tuesday, December 24th. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.