For over 50 years, Big Ole has welcomed visitors to Alexandria, Minnesota. Towering 28 feet high, the fiberglass Viking warrior holds a shield inscribed with the city's claim to fame: "Alexandria, Birthplace of America."
Birthplace? That's right. Norsemen first visited the area in 1362, over 100 years before Columbus. As a symbol of this rich history, Big Ole promotes Alexandria to prospective visitors. However, his reach is limited: The beloved Viking is firmly attached to his base on the shore of Lake Agnes. He's not going anywhere, but…
Little Ole, a 14-foot, inflatable mascot looks like the original and is travel-ready. Like Big Ole, the smaller version boasts brawny muscles, a bristling beard, and an authentic winged helmet. Unlike the larger statue, Little Ole can travel to events, parades, and expos, where he can spread the word about scenic (and historic) Alexandria.
Why was Landmark chosen to create Little Ole? According to Explore Alexandria Tourism Development Coordinator Kristen Faber, "They were very quick to respond, were genuinely nice and easy to work with, they offered reasonable pricing, and helped us capture a dream."
So far, Little Ole has been a huge hit at trade shows and there’s more to come. "We are launching a social media campaign this summer centered around finding Little Ole," reports Faber. Let's raise our helmets to that!