Hatch NM

Today’s Zippy takes us to Hatch NM, which is famous for two things: green chiles and giant fiberglass figures:

(#1)

The two are packaged together in this remarkable artifact:

(#2)

The current Wikipedia page for Hatch is staid indeed, with no mention of the fiberglass figures. A small writeup for a small town:

Hatch is a village in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 1,648 at the 2010 census. … Hatch is widely known for its famous Hatch Green Chile.

Ok, first on the chiles, then on Teako’s Giants of Hatch.

From Wikipedia:

New Mexico chile is a cultivar of the chile pepper developed by Dr. Fabian Garcia at New Mexico State University in 1888, … created from a hybrid of various Pueblo and Santa Fe de Nuevo México cultivars.

… Chile grown in the Hatch Valley, in and around Hatch, New Mexico is called Hatch chile. The peppers grown in the valley, and along the entire Rio Grande, from northern Taos Pueblo to southern Isleta Pueblo, is a signature crop to New Mexico’s economy and culture.

(#3)

Now the Giants of Hatch. The figures — Yogi Bear, a big pink pig, two Muffler Men (one a soda jerk), Uncle Sam, a giant chicken, Robin Hood, a dinosaur, A&W Root Beer girl, a large hot dog advertising Sparky’s Green Chili Cheeseburger, a large red chili pepper, Mighty Mouse, Ronald McDonald, George Jetson, Robin Hood, and more, making a public festival of pop and commercial culture — are sort of sprinkled around Sparky’s Burgers, Barbecue, and Espresso at 115 Franklin St. in Hatch.

(#4)

The story, from Roadside America:

Regardless of what you think of the 1960s, it did have a rich visual legacy: men on the moon, JFK in Dallas, Vietnam, Woodstock. Teako Nunn came of age during those years, but the image that burrowed into his skull was of a giant woman in a short skirt and bikini top, outside a go-go bar near a freeway in San Diego. “She looked very cool to a 12-year-old kid,” Teako said. “It’s sounds dorky, but ever since I’ve just loved bigger-than-life figures.”

Teako’s passion lay dormant until early 2006. He was living in the small town of Hatch, New Mexico, running an RV dealership. And then — he saw a Muffler Man for sale on eBay. “I just said to myself, ‘Wow. I can own that?'” he recalled.

Teako bought the giant, put a tiny RV in his hand, and went back online to buy more statues.

Next, he opened a restaurant in town and named it Sparky’s after a robot that his wife, Josie, had built out of old tractor parts.

Teako and Josie wanted Sparky’s to be the kind of place that they’d always craved to find when stopping in a small town — so they added a moose head, neon clocks, and a mural of Teako, carving knife and fork in hand, chasing a pickup truck filled with happy animals into Sparky’s kitchen.

It also became a showcase for Teako’s growing statue menagerie.

Within months of its opening, Sparky’s offered A&W Mama and Papa Burger statues on its roof, a giant pig and chicken in its parking lot, fiberglass replicas of Colonel Sanders and Ronald McDonald on its sidewalk, and, off to one side, an Uncle Sam towering 30 feet tall.

(It was really hard to pick just a couple of the figures for illustration here. They’re wonderfully weird.)

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