Inflatables at Paulie’s Penguin Playground prepare for high winds


OLATHE, Kan, – The forecast Wednesday calls for sustained winds of up to 35 miles per hour and gusting winds of up to 65 miles per hour. It’s prompted the National Weather Service to issue a high wind warning.

At Paulie’s Penguin Playground in Olathe, homeowners took down their 35 foot penguin the display is best known about 9 pm Tuesday. It it will stay down Wednesday, but all the rest the nearly 200 inflatables are staying up, and hopefully staying in place.

Every year since 2003 at the Olathe home, for kids of all ages Christmas has been in the air.

“A little bit of a breeze gives it life,” Paul Craig said.

But too much breeze can be a disaster for the display helping raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“We can take snow, we can take ice, it’s not too bad. The snow, it’s kind of cool. But the winds, they just rip the snot out of everything, from the ties to stripping the inflatables themselves.

In one 2020 wind storm, Paul Craig’s so-named 35-foot “Penguinzilla” was no longer a flightless bird. 25 foot “Junior” already fell victim to winds this month.

“Just knowing that it’s going to be windy tomorrow, we thought I hope they are tied down and available and they don’t fly away because it’s such a cool experience for the kids to come out,” Laura Greer said visiting the display with her children.

Even with the high wind warning, the penguins will be full of air. Craig doesn’t think the the inflatable screen on the roof or helicopter suspended in air will take flight.

“We have everything interconnected and interlocked they all work both against each other and for each other to hopefully keep them in place,” he said.
But just since this display is staying up, doesn’t necessarily mean yours should.

‘If they’ve got stuff that’s pretty much individual ones that they can control, yeah, go ahead and put those down. But if you’ve got big ones they actually do better when they’ve got tension on the lines, especially if you don’t have a way of securing them once they are uninflated so the wind doesn’t pick them up,” Craig said.

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