Have you seen the giant inflatable Santas lining Earle Street? We know the backstory.

Nothing says Christmas Cheer like a feel-good story of neighbors lifting each other’s spirits, and that’s what fueled the army of giant inflatable Santas lining Earle Street.


The East Earle Street Santas have everyone talking.

Photo by GVLtoday

Have you heard about the giant inflatable Santas lining East Earle Street? (We counted 37, but the neighbors tell us more are popping up each day.) The Halloween capital of Greenville’s new tradition is trending on local social media feeds, but how did it start?

It’s a heartwarming tale of neighbors who decided to try something new when one of their own needed some extra holiday cheer.

The backstory

Picture this: Leah Tankersley, who moved to Earle Street in 1995, was in the emergency room with her father.

“He’s terminal,” she explained. “It’s been a really hard year.”

Her friends (and East Earle Street neighbors) asked what any of us would ask when a friend is going through a difficult season: “How can we help?”

Tankersley had been scrolling on her phone at the hospital and saw a video of a Canadian neighborhood with giant inflatable Santas in every front yard. It made her smile, so she sent it to her friends’ group chat and said, “Have you seen this? It would make me so happy.”

It wasn’t long before Ann Brock (an East Earle Street resident since 2002) shared a link to purchase the inflatables, along with a $10 off coupon, in the neighborhood group chat.

No small Santas here, Brock clarified. “It had to be a giant Santa.”

A snowball effect.

From there, other neighbors understood the assignment and started asking the East Earle Street residents for the link to purchase their own. “It snowballed,” explained Brock.

“We just really wanted to do it, and if we got six Santas up we would’ve been happy,” Stephanie Burnette (an East Earle Street resident since 2001) said. “The fact that 35 more people jumped on board, it makes it really feel like the Christmas spirit.”

This traffic is worth it. Cars drive slowly down East Earle Street these days, with curious adults hanging their heads out the window, and kids pointing from their strollers on evening walks.

“We’re really hoping Google Earth will come by this month,” Burnette joked.

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