Blowin' Up

Inflatables take over Grand Prairie

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, reflection and, of course, maxing out the power circuits in your house. For many, December just wouldn't be the same without the lights, figurines and fake snow. In recent years we've seen a number of new decoration trends come and go, but the latest and greatest is the inflatable. The aisles at Lowe's and Home Depot are filled with them, and one can see them sprouting up in gas station parking lots, liquor store windows and well-manicured yards all over the metroplex.

The things sure are fun, as we learned helping Mom set one up, but the difficult part is the staking. Our inflatable arrived complete with corkscrew stakes, specially designed to twist into the ground without the aid of hammers and mallets. Whoever invented them obviously never lived through a North Texas drought, however. Our stakes twisted a couple of inches into the ground with the help of a pair of pliers, but it was impossible to keep them straight, and after a while they just broke up the ground like a till, leaving us with a bunch of little holes. Perhaps it was somewhat unwise to try staking our giant snowman in a lava rock-lined flower bed that never gets watered, but Mom didn't want Frosty killing her grass.

We had much more success with some straight stakes we raided from our tent collection, and after two minutes of hammering, Frosty was secure enough to plug in. As his fan came to life, so did our 12-and a-half foot friend. For some reason he had trouble standing up, though--his belly was full of cold air and cheer, but the poor fella just couldn't get his head off the ground. In her wisdom, Mom consulted the instructions, which led to the discovery of a hidden zipper intended to aid in the deflation process. Zipped up, our scarf-necked friend was ready to stand and face the chilly wind.

Grandma came out in her housecoat for the occasion with Grandpa close behind. Friends and strangers slowed their passing cars to a crawl. Then as we hummed "The Imperial March" on our mouth trumpet, Frosty rose like Lord Vader, candy cane in hand. Air pulsed through his body like The Force, and the top of his winter hat sprang to life in a motion that could only be described as a "boi-oi-oi-oing." He was ready to do battle, and he easily won, growing taller than most of the house and putting to shame the measly 8 foot Santa down the block. Somewhere out in Grand Prairie, someone did this more than 700 times. On the shores of Joe Pool Lake, Grand Prairie Parks and Recreation has collaborated with the folks at Airblown Inflatables to bring us Prairie Lights' Airblown World, a magical wonderland made up of hundreds of inflatables and more than half a million lights. All the usual suspects are present, from Santa to the Grinch, but don't be surprised if you see Mickey, Bevo or SpongeBob as well. And as you drive through the spectacle, take comfort in the fact that somewhere, classy rich people are cringing in the glow of their boring white lights and dignified nativity scenes.

 
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