- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) - A visitor from Santa’s workshop has garnered a lot of attention from locals.

An elf named George has been on Opelika resident Missy Martin’s lawn on Academy Drive since last week. He isn’t an ordinary lawn ornament. George has a mind of his own.

“He’s the talk of the town,” said owner Missy Martin. “Someone was walking through the neighborhood and said they love seeing the elf every day. He’s fun to be around and is a part of the magic of Christmas.”

George the Elf captivates passersby with his antics and hobbies. Martin said the elf is an Auburn fan, and has been known to make s ‘mores decorate Christmas trees and even set up a lemonade stand on Martin’s lawn one year.

“He had a table next to the lemonade stand, and people got out of their cars to purchase the lemonade. He went fishing in the lake last year,” she said. “He went deer hunting. This year he came in like Mary Poppins.”

The elf has been making appearances on her front yard for six years. She realized elves were quite popular with children-including her children- and decided to introduce George the Elf to her family and the community. Martin said she places George on her lawn the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

“The idea is he’s here on vacation, until Christmas Eve,” she said. “He comes to bring joy to Opelika and Auburn. I think kids like it. It’s a lot of fun to see what he does every day. He’s there to entertain the neighborhood and those who come through.”

George the Elf is a lovable character, said Tammy Culligan, Lee Scott Academy afterschool care program director.

“I love George. He gives the kids something to talk about,” she said. They (students) can’t wait until he does something new. They anticipate it.”

Culligan said she encountered George the Elf about two years ago. She said her first impression was kids would love him, and they did.

“I asked the kids if they saw him. They said ‘Yes, we saw him, and he had an umbrella out,” She said. “One time he was cutting wood, and was spotted canoeing. I think kids get excited. It’s the whole spirit of Christmas, and they associate George with the fact Christmas is coming.”

George the Elf is quite mobile. In the morning hours he might be floating in the air by an umbrella, and in the evening neighbors might find him outside sitting in a chair, Martin said.

“The neighborhood loves him, and I get comments from passersby. It’s gotten to a point where people give me suggestions. In July, people say ‘You’re the elf lady,” she said. “It’s a fun thing to do, and I hope it makes people happy.”

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Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, https://www.oanow.com/

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