Paulie’s Penguin Playground, a Johnson County holiday tradition, is ending its run after 20 years.
Catch up quick: Paul and Cindy Craig, the husband-and-wife team behind the homemade holiday display, announced this week that this year will be their last.
- For the past two decades, the Craigs have put up an ever-growing assortment of inflatable holiday characters in their Olathe home’s yard, with their display now totaling nearly 200 figures.
- Visitors can walk through the Christmastime fantasia at 16617 Indian Creek Parkway for free.
- At the same time, the Craigs have collected nearly $88,000 in donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society over the years.
Key quote: “We are so honored that our Christmas display could be at least a small part of Christmas for the thousands of folks that came through,” the Craigs wrote on Facebook this week. “The stories of multi-generations, the first date to engagement and weddings. Plus who could forget the busses, [limousines], nursing homes, day cares and families that have made such a wonderful impact with your attendance, support and love.”
Why now: Despite all the joy the Craigs say they’ve derived from running the display, it’s also sounds like a lot of work.
- The Craigs say they begin preparing and setting up the display each year at least two months in advance, keep it open for the month leading up to Christmas and then take a week to tear it all down and store all the equipment for the rest of the year.
What they’re saying: “After 15 years of living in a fear cage and having messed up dreams for a month we look forward to being able to [go] out as a couple and actually enjoy everybody else’s displays and be able to possibly go to a family function or even the concept of a date night on my birthday seems like a dream,” Paul Craig wrote on Facebook. “But it is time.”
What’s next: The Craigs say they are currently looking for a “charitable organization” that could take all the Paulie’s Penguin Playground inflatable characters and recreate the display in another location.
Visit now: Until then, Paulie’s Penguin Playground is open 24/7 through Christmas Day.