Who knew the Jolly Green Giant was Irish? I mean, he wears green…all the time. He has to be Irish, right? Regardless, one thing is for sure – the Green Giant is one of the world’s tallest statues.
Standing more than 55 feet tall, he greets people to Blue Earth, Minnesota, just off Interstate 90. The giant has been located in a city park since 1979. Long the symbol of Green Giant vegetables, the character is known for the iconic line, “Ho, Ho, Green Giant.”
Blue Earth has been home to a Green Giant production facility for decades. Green Giant green beans are still processed here.
Capitalizing on its association with the giant, Blue Earth is home to a Green Giant Museum at the chamber of commerce building downtown.
A tour of the memorabilia gives visitors a close-up look at the history of Green Giant and people’s fascination with the mascot. The Minnesota Valley Canning Company opened its doors in 1903 in Le Sueur. In 1925, the first Green Giant product rolled off the line. It was for sweet peas. The company changed its name to Green Giant. Three years later, the Green Giant character was introduced. Green Giant vegetables has been owned by a few more companies since its introduction.
A walk through the museum mixes company history with toys and other memorabilia. A timeline of the company’s history provides interesting information, such as green bean niblets were introduced in 1927. The giant officially became green colored in 1930.
Toys on display range from semi-trucks to dolls resembling farmers. Stuffed Green Giant dolls and Little Green Sprout dolls can be found alongside the other toys. Sprout was introduced during the 1970s as an advertising gimmick.
Other memorabilia include watches, mugs, plates and sports items. The Green Giant phenomenon extends beyond the “Valley of the Green Giant.”
The museum includes a section highlighting the production line at the plant, which was originally known as the Blue Earth Canning Company. A replica of an employee locker room is also on view.
So, as you drive along Interstate 90 and see the Green Giant staring back at you from the south, you should take a few minutes and detour to the park and the museum. The Green Giant experience is a fun and informative one.
For more information on the Green Giant attractions, visit the Chamber of Commerce website here.