On her way to work at Saul’s on the square in Gainesville, Brenda Akins stopped in her tracks Tuesday morning to see what the commotion was all about.
“What is that?” she asked a man snapping pictures as workers using a lift guided a big metal object over the roof on the front of the Main Street Market building.
“It’s the body of a chicken without a head,” the man said as he walked away.
Akins, who lives in the Lula area, said she’s been working at Saul’s part time for about a year, and she only vaguely remembers seeing the old chicken perched on the roof during the holidays last year.
“I think it’s a good thing for the community to have,” she said.
When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Downtown Gainesville square
How much: Free
Josh Fetzer, a job site superintendent for Carroll Daniel Construction, operated the 6,000-pound reach lift that hoisted more than 1,100-pound body portion of the chicken made of steel.
“We got it up there without a hitch,” Fetzer said. “It’s always fun to do something a little different.”
Joining the head to the body of the chicken proved to be a little trickier, said Chris Curtis of M&R Rentals, which donated the equipment. He and co-worker Nathan Crumley worked with Mike Hendrix, Rodney Lee and Jose Baires of Carroll Daniel to align and secure the head to the body with three bolts.
“It was heavy,” Curtis said of the chicken’s head, which alone weighs about 100 pounds.
Carroll Daniel and M&R donated their time and personnel to get the chicken atop the Main Street Market. The decorated giant chicken will be lighted Thursday during Gainesville’s Jingle Mingle event that traditionally starts the holiday and shopping season downtown.
Deb Harkrider, who owns the Main Street Market building with husband Doug, gave a sigh of relief to see the chicken secured and work safely completed by volunteers.
“We just need to add some feathers and we’re done,” she said, looking up at the almost 20-foot structure overlooking the square
Welding students at Lanier Technical College in Oakwood created a new chicken for Jingle Mingle after the old one was found to be rusted and falling apart, Harkrider said.
Jingle Mingle will start 5 p.m. Thursday. The event includes live music, free carriage and kiddie train rides and the arrival of Santa in a fire truck.