Our Town 2017 NOV-DEC (Gainesville)

Page 138




Santa’s Shop A Couple Creates Christmas Magic for the Community S TORY A N D PHOTOG R A PHY BY ERICK A WINTER ROW D


hree animatronic elves named Elmer, Elsie, and Elfis work diligently in Santa’s Shop. A blinking clock above them points to the word “work” while toy trains whiz by on surrounding tracks. Other fantastical figurines dance and move about; creating a scene that feels very much alive. Then all of a sudden the clock points to “play,” and the elves begin to take a well-deserved break. Their workshop tables flip over to display delightful treats, which prompts Elfis to start playing his guitar. Before you know it the whimsical clock reverts back to work mode, but the King of Rock n’ Roll is not yet finished with his mini concert. As he continues on with his guitar solo, Santa catches wind of his naughty antics. Obviously, Elfis forgot that Santa knows when you’ve been bad or good – so he better get back to work for goodness sake! This story can be seen as a window display, located in the Brightway Insurance office of the Haile Village Center. The creators behind this magical scene are Haile Plantation residents Mike and Annelle Rigsby. The husband and wife team sought to give back to their community by sharing some holiday cheer. Mike, an electrical engineer, handles the technical side of the creation while Annelle, an artist, designs and paints all of the aesthetics.

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The Rigsbys spent over 2,000 hours creating Santa’s Shop.Ten Arduino microcontrollers and dozens of motors were combined with hundreds of 3D printed parts to make the display possible.

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