Cuckoo clock brings more than a new time to Sugarcreek
by Jenna Polen
What can a town do with a Swiss clock that’s larger than any human looking at it? Well Sugarcreek is about to find out for themselves.
For years the 23.5-foot-tall Swiss clock, known as the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock, drew thousands of tourists to the former Alpine Alpa Restaurant in Wilmot. After the restaurant closed its doors, the assets were sold at public auction, including the cuckoo clock. After bids from all over the world came in for the clock, Mark Coblentz, owner/president of Walnut Creek Cheese, knew that it belonged in the community. After winning the bid, Coblentz and Walnut Creek Cheese decided that the clock would be donated to a nonprofit entity in Sugarcreek.
The clock was originally constructed in 1972, and ranks number two on a list of eight of the World’s Biggest Roadside Attractions. Every hour, the huge, animated clock comes to life, with dancing figures and a cheery German-style band capturing the attention of all its visitors, of all ages.
The truly one of a kind piece was placed in Sugarcreek and will not be silent any longer. After making its way to the streets of Sugarcreek on Wednesday, May 30, the clock will become a new tourist attraction for the Swiss town.
“We have had a couple of guys refurbish everything from the inside out, we are rewiring the whole thing, making it all digital, and making it waterproof,” said Clayton Weller, mayor of Sugarcreek.
Although it has been silent for a year, it now has a new place, new ownership and a new purpose for the locals in Sugarcreek.
“I am really optimistic that once the clock is up and running that people will want to come and visit and see what all we have to offer as a town,” said Weller.
The clock will be used as a tourist attraction in the small Swiss town. Even though Sugarcreek offers plenty of things to do for locals and visitors, the clock has started a new level of planning and developing a better tourist place.
“We are hoping that these people will come to see the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock and then stay and shop. We have to offer them things to do and we are working on developing more right now. We have a restaurant across the street from the location of the clock and then another one will be opening in July,” said Weller.
“We are hoping that these types of businesses will benefit from the new attraction. The economy is a tough thing to overcome, but we hope that people will come and see what we have to offer.”
The town of Sugarcreek is already beginning to develop new ways to entertain. Other than having new businesses move into storefronts, the tiny Swiss town is also looking into new attractions, including a new sculpture wall recently decided on by the Art Council of Sugarcreek. A new cement wall will be getting a face-lift next year. Bricking the wall and adding sculptures within are just the beginning.
“I feel like this (moving the cuckoo clock) is jump-starting our businesses. When the train was here it helped tremendously.
After the economy went down our town suffered. But now this is what we need to jump-start our community once again,” said Weller. “We want people to come here and enjoy a day or two, and see what we offer them.”
Weller has spoken with Guinness Book of World Records recently to confirm that the Sugarcreek cuckoo clock is still the largest in the world. There is one in Germany, but it is not proven to be bigger than the one located in the Little Switzerland of Ohio.