Shrek, Smurfette, Snoopy and Tweety Bird all call Grand Island, Nebraska, home. That is, their models do. Fred’s Flying Circus has these and other cartoon characters standing high above the ground as part of “auto art.” Fred Schritt, a native Grand Islander, has been building cartoon cars for several decades. He displays them on a lot near his auto body shop on the east end of 4th Street. A fence keeps them safe and varmints out.
He started by making one car for fun. People liked it. So, he made another…and another…and so on. Soon, he had an art display. We had to see this extravaganza for ourselves during our recent visit. We were not disappointed. The entire lot is full of cartoon model cars built atop poles. They stand several feet above the barbed wire-topped fenceline. The lot used to be a neighborhood grocery store.
His first cartoon car – Peppermint Alley – actually stands outside the fence, along the sidewalk.eppNext to Peppermint is a mural on the fenceline featuring a car crashing into the wall. It’s good advertisement for Fred’s auto body repair shop. A friend added the painted sign with “Fred’s Flying Circus.”
The cartoon characters are varied. You can see the Red Baron fighting Snoopy and his dog house plane.
Shrek is a passenger in a taxi driven by a witch.
An old police car that looks like something out of Mayberry RFD “patrols” the circus.
A Devil car beckons a hot time in the old town among visitors.
I thought a couple of sculptures were cute – Tweety Bird and Smurfette holding flowers.
I had to climb a couple of large rocks to get a nice view for photos. After I finished shooting the photographs I wanted, a Grand Island police car drove up. The officer was very friendly. After checking out our reason for being the area, he wished us a nice day and continued his patrol. Fred – who spends most of his time working on the cartoon cars – has a small motorcycle museum set up in one area of the workshop. It was closed during our weekend visit, but we’ll have to stop by when in town on a weekday.
He told the Grand Island Visitors Bureau that he wants to keep creating more cartoon cars. He apparently is eyeing a couple of vacant lots across the street from his business. Fred’s Flying Circus is a fun way to spend a few minutes out of your day. If you’re in Grand Island, swing by and check it out.