The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a new fan in the River Park South neighbourhood: a 14-foot-tall inflatable Santa Claus.
“I would say he’s definitely the biggest Bomber fan that I’ve seen,” said Jay Porath, who fitted the inflatable with a homemade Bombers jersey earlier this week.
Porath spotted the giant blow-up Santa at a Canadian Tire last year and bought it on a whim.
“I bought the thing thinking it was kind of ridiculous and funny, and it might make my kids smile. So, I set it up and it just kind of became this neighbourhood icon,” he said.
It became an instant hit among Porath’s neighbours, with some even going so far as to leave cards at his door, thanking him for spreading holiday cheer.
“People just loved it,” he said.
After the Bombers’ division final win against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Porath decided to deck his Santa out with some Bomber’s swag of its own.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a jersey big enough to fit the towering inflatable, so Porath set to work, scouring Michael’s for craft supplies to make his vision a reality.
“I had no idea what I was doing. I was walking around Michael’s trying to find things I could use to paint the sheets and put the logo on him and make the numbers and stuff like that,” he said.
With a royal-blue sheet and some iron-on lettering, the city’s biggest Bomber fan was born.
Porath has received plenty of compliments from people both in-person and online and has yet to face any backlash from scorned ‘Riders fans, he said.
Porath is now known in the neighbourhood as the resident inflatables guy, he said.
“I don’t know where you go from here. People were hassling me last year that I was going to have to have an inflatable one for every holiday now,” Porath said. “I never thought that’s what I’d be known for, but I guess my fifteen minutes of fame has come with buying a bedsheet and putting it over a giant balloon.”
The Bombers face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the championship game on Sunday, and Porath hopes the inflatable will help them bring the Grey Cup him.
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