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Monday, May 2, 2016

The Idea Man

Monday, February 25, 2002

Original Santa's Castle designer, now a nationally known curator, lends insight for Castle renaissance.

Gordon Linge is a man of ideas.

Whether creating a World's Fair exhibit, a national cultural tour on pupperty or perhaps the first interstate rest area with a built-in theater, the ability to conjure up ideas has carried Linge from a youth curating imaginative displays in Storm Lake to spicing up the huge Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans today.

Now, the former Santa's Workshop and Santa's Castle volunteer is ready to offer his services to help bring the area attraction back to the zenith it enjoyed in the early 1970's, when over 30,000 people flocked to see the animated figures perform each Christmas season in Storm Lake.

A resident of New Orleans for 18 years, Linge was born and raised in Storm Lake, where as an eager youth he designed many of the displays for the Christmas tradition.

He is ready to get on board with Chamber of Commerce officials set to make a year-round Santa's Castle a reality.

"We've got two choices, as I see it," Linge said. "Either shoot the animal and put it out of its misery, sell it and be done with it, because this is a valuable collection, or, and this is obviously my choice, take the opportunity you've been given and run with it and take it as far as you possibly can. It's an amazing opportunity that's been given to Storm Lake, and I think people will recognize that and take advantage of that."

Linge began his adventures with ideas as a child growing up in The City Beautiful, taking in the sights and sounds of a downtown community bustling with excitement and activity nearly every night of the year.

Many of the store windows in town contained animated displays or other novelties, such as the live monkey twirling on a trapeze in the window of the Constable Drug Store, and Linge said the intricacies of the different exhibits triggered his fascination with ideas and how to make those different concepts become reality.

Read the rest of this story in the 2/23/02 Pilot Tribune.



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