Those who drive past the Huddleston Post Office will see a display that looks familiar around this time of year. A Charlie Brown Christmas hay bale sculpture, created by Beth Bays, has brought the Christmas spirit to the Smith Mountain Lake area in a unique way.
This isn’t her first time creating hay bale sculptures.
“The Bedford Farm Bureau was doing a hay bale decorating contest, and I thought I would do it,” she said.
That’s when Bays put together a big Teddy Bear hay sculpture, and it received lots of positive comments from the community. This prompted Bays to keep building hay sculptures for the past nine years.
Within the last year, her hay bale sculpture of Willie Nelson went viral and was featured locally in the Smith Mountain Eagle but also reached other areas via the Associated Press, Daily Press and other media outlets. Her latest one has gotten some attention as well.
Bays recalls watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and said it was a quintessential childhood memory of the holidays. That wasn’t her inspiration for creating this sculpture though — it was because of a controversial decision on the cable spectrum. Recently, Apple TV+ made a deal with Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions to be the new home for all Peanuts classics, which means the beloved episodes of Charlie Brown won’t air on CBS like in years past. There will be a special ad-free airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on PBS on Dec. 13.
“That really burned me up,” she said. “That was the inspiration to creating it.”
The Peanuts hay sculptures are a good size as well. Snoopy stands at about six feet tall, Woodstock is around four feet, and Charlie Brown stands at about 15 feet tall. The sculpture also features the iconic little Christmas tree with the heavy ornament that bends the top over to one side.
The entire project took Bays about a week to create, and the color came from spray paint. Bays said she used about 40 cans of spray paint for her sculptures. On whether this is her favorite sculpture project yet, she said it’s up there as one of her favorites.
“I definitely do think it’s one of my favorites,” she said. “I’ve always loved Charlie Brown. I had a Snoopy pillow that my granny made me when I was little, and I slept with it my entire life. This was pretty special.”
Those who drive by at night also will see the doghouse and the tree light up with solar lights, which Bays enjoys.
She also has noticed more people than normal stopping by and telling her how much they enjoy the sculpture and how much it means to them. Seeing these types of reactions make it all that much better for Bays.
“They have sent pictures all over the world to their families,” she said. “One afternoon when we left to go to lunch, there were people out there in Christmas pajamas and hats with a camera on the tripod taking their Christmas card photos. It was so cute.”
Read more stories in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services to view articles in the print and/or e-edition version.