Shillito’s Pixies are back and on display at Findlay Market | cultural | Cincinnati

Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Findlay Market


This holiday season, Findlay Market has brought back a beloved and classic Cincinnati Christmas tradition: the Shillito elves.

These mechanical elf dolls have been circulating in the Queen City for years and until the end of the year the elves will be on display at the former Leader furniture store in Findlay Market.

From the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s, the Shillito Department Store served as home to two different generations of party elves. At first, Shillito’s visual merchandising department renovated the holiday displays of other department stores every year, appropriating foreign elves and Christmas paintings. But in 1979, after two decades, the downtown department store breathed new life into its elaborate holiday display with a new family of locally handcrafted elves.

But in 1983, the elves disappeared, marking the end of a nearly 30-year holiday tradition in Cincinnati. Shillito became Lazarus and eventually moved on. And the shop windows of Seventh and Race Streets, which still exist, have become home to creative displays from companies like brand agency Landor instead of mechanized elves.

The collection of elves on display at Findlay this year is provided by artist Mark Trierweiler. According to Findlay Market, Trierweiler “worked with Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI) in the mid-1990s, where he set up the famous Santa Claus Toy Factory in Fountain Square, and he made many floats for the Downtown Holiday Parade. , including the Giant Toy Robot, adored by so many children.”

Trierweiler got his hands on some of the elf exhibits when they retired and were able to show them at the Westin Hotel in the early 2000s and later at the Carew Tower.

These Shillito elves have been “hibernating” ever since, but six magical vignettes have hit the market: the Mail Sorter, Little Woodshop, Pete the Painter, Lazzie Bear and Gift Wrap, Elves at Home, and Bedtime Elves.

Trierweiler says he “feels responsible for the beloved tradition and looks forward to bringing the magic to Findlay Market,” according to a statement.

The elves face outdoors from their home in the Leader Furniture storefront and will be lively on the weekends. See them during market hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, through December 31.

Findlay Market is located at 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine. Find more information at findlaymarket.org.

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