Linus Blankets St. Paul
Edited by Madelyn Miller
Charles Schulz, creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip
that graced the pages of newspaper comics around the world for 50 years and
further popularized on a number of television specials, would be thrilled
that his characters are still generating adoration.
And, no place is this adoration more evident than in
Charles Schulz’ hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota.
For the fourth consecutive year, 5-foot polyurethane
figures will grace the streets, parks, plazas and sidewalks of Saint Paul.
This year, the featured character will be Linus Van Pelt, Lucy’s younger
brother and the intellectual of the gang who flabbergasts his friends with
his philosophical revelations and solutions to problems. Linus is a
paradox: despite his age, he is able to put life in perspective while
sucking his thumb and dragging around his favorite blanket.
“Our records show that the Peanuts comic strip
characters displayed around Saint Paul during the past three years have been
extremely popular with tour bus groups, individual visitors, and residents
of the state,” said Brad Toll, vice president of tourism with the Saint Paul
Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We expect Linus to generate as much, if
not more, fun and excitement.”
According to visitor data compiled by the Saint Paul
Convention and Visitors Bureau, more than 2 million visitors have been drawn
to Saint Paul to locate the more than 100 statues of each character that had
been created, designed and painted by local artists, and set up around the
city since the tribute to Schulz began in the summer of 2000. The activity
has generated more than $100 million in economic impact to the city of Saint
The first year featured Snoopy, followed by Charlie
Brown in 2001 and Lucy in 2002.
“We have had visitors come each year from as far away
as Texas and New Jersey,” Toll said, “and we know they’re coming back this
year as well.” One visitor, a photographer, is preparing a photo manuscript
of public art from a variety of cities, including the Charles Schulz
characters in Saint Paul.
“Linus Blankets Saint Paul” will be the theme of this
year’s promotion. The statues will be painted at the artist paint-off
scheduled for May 21-26 at RiverCentre, and the statues are expected to
reach their destinations on the streets of Saint Paul during the first few
weeks of June. The entire promotion is a cooperative venture with the
Capital City Partnership, the city of Saint Paul, TivoliToo Design and
Sculpting Studios and the Saint Paul Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Statues will once again be painted by local artists and
sponsored by area businesses, and ultimately auctioned off at the end of
September at Mall of America. Auction proceeds go to the Charles M. Schulz
Fund that was established to create and maintain permanent bronze sculptures
of the Peanuts gang and for scholarships for artists and emerging
cartoonists at the Art Instruction School where Schulz attended and taught,
and at the College of Visual Arts. To date, nearly $2 million have been
Saint Paul’s Permanent Tribute
Landmark Plaza, a new $4.2 million park located between
the historic Landmark Center and Lawson Commons in the heart of downtown
Saint Paul, will open this June as the city’s permanent tribute to Charles
Schulz. The park will complement existing Saint Paul icons such as the
Minnesota Children’s Museum, Science Museum of Minnesota, Landmark Center,
The Saint Paul Hotel, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Touchstone
Landmark Plaza will be the home of Saint Paul’s
permanent memorial to Schulz. Bronze statues of some of his famous
characters will be situated in the park, including Snoopy sprawled on
Charlie Brown’s lap resting against a tree, Sally and Linus leaning against
one of the park walls, and Lucy flirting with Schroeder over his piano.
“The Peanuts characters promotions have been very
popular for people of all ages, from all walks of life and from around the
world,” Toll said. “This permanent tribute of Peanuts characters and the
development of this park will have a positive impact on downtown for years
In addition to the Peanuts characters, the park
provides public space for picnics, games, and festivals and events in an
urban setting. Landmark Plaza will feature native Minnesota trees and
perennials, a lawn area, seating walls, festival plaza and an ephemeral
stream, which is a demonstration project for storm water management.
Where Should Visitors Begin to Search for Linus?
The Saint Paul Convention and Visitors Bureau will have
its Snoopy Doghouse Information Center set up on the plaza of the Science
Museum of Minnesota,120 West Kellogg Blvd., Saint Paul. The information
center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Snoopy Doghouse Information Center, staffed by
knowledgeable volunteers, can provide maps to locate all of the Linus
statues as well as promotional material and visitor guides to many
attractions, restaurants and accommodations in Saint Paul. The Saint Paul
Fun Pass, which offers discounts to numerous Saint Paul attractions,
accommodations and restaurants, is also available.
From the plaza, visitors can easily follow the map and
locate numerous statues of Linus in the heart of downtown Saint Paul,
especially in the area of Rice Park, Ecolab Plaza, Wabasha Street and
According to Toll, the tourism department can assist in
recommending routes for tour companies as well as supply commemorative/maps
for the passengers. “A major Japanese tour operator brought three groups to
Saint Paul last year and already has several scheduled for this year,” Toll
Any visitors to Saint Paul wanting additional
information and locations of the Linus statues, should contact the Saint
Paul Convention and Visitors Bureau, 651-265-4923 or 800-627-6101
to TravelLady Magazine