Miniature Olaus statue arrives to mark the start of Rossland Winter Carnival

The miniature version of the 2.6 metre Olaus Jeldness statue that will eventually stand downtown arrived recently from the artist in China, right in time for Winter Carnival. - Submitted Photo
The miniature version of the 2.6 metre Olaus Jeldness statue that will eventually stand downtown arrived recently from the artist in China, right in time for Winter Carnival.
— image credit: Submitted Photo

With Winter Carnival this weekend, the Spirit of Red was able to pass on some good news to council: the Olaus Jeldness statue is in it’s final stages.

The statue will eventually occupy a corner of Columbia and Washington, but is still in the design phase.

At Monday’s council, Roly Worsfold, Spirit of Red’s president, showed the bronze statue 1/10 the size of the final 2.6 metre tall statue.

The statue is being put together by an artist  in China who works in steps. The next step is to get the changes that Spirit of Red would like to make back to the artist, who will then prepare a full size wax version to be sent before the final bronze version.

“We do have a few changes on the miniature, but the presentation looks good,” Worsfold said. “Then there’s a chance to make final changes to the full wax. They will then do the full bronze and ship it to us in Vancouver.”

Worsfold said it’s a long process that began in clay, but the final result is getting closer.  It’s been a back and forth dialogue with the artist to get the details just right, like making the skis longer, and the pants authentic looking. “And because it’s up on a pedestal, we had to have his head looking down slightly, so it’s looking at us,” he said. “We’re pretty happy with that.”

Another thing Worsfold is excited about is having descendents of Olaus coming to celebrate this weekend.

“There will be 30 people in the parade for the weekend, he said. “They’ll be holding one of the banners.”

He said, to celebrate that, they are asking people to dress up as Olaus to hopefully have  101 Olauses at the event.

“We’re trying to convince as many people as possible, men and women, to don the costume of the time, Olaus’s time, or of Olaus himself,” he said.

There will be a draw, for anyone that enters the parade with a float or a costume. They can put their name in a draw for a season’s pass at Red Resort. That’s a prize on the  Winter Carnival side of things.

There will also be a prize awarded from the Spirit of Red for the best Olaus look-alike. Olaus’s descendent, Randie Ridgewell and other family members will be the judge to see who has the best Olaus costume. Worsfold there will be a generous gift from Spirit of Red for that person.

If you need ideas on what on what would constitute an Olaus costume, visit the Spirit of Red website which has many pictures of Olaus at

“It’s a family member who’s going to be the judge, so it’s going to be hard for me to say much on who’s going to win,” he said, adding that he will be in the competition as well.

“I did last year too. Though most people said I looked more like Groucho Marx than Olaus Jeldness.”

Last year, he said there were only three Olauses, himself, his wife and the mayor.

“This year there’ll be a lot more so it will be more competitive.”

Suggestions for the costume include wool pants and a pair of skis.

“It’s going to be fun, we’re just trying to have a good time for sure, as Olaus would have,” he added. “He’d love to see us all wandering around, he’d be chuckling.”

The Jeldness descendents come from all over the area. Some are coming up from the northern States, areas like Spokane and Seattle. There’s also family members from Nelson, the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan coming, the last of which is where Randie Ridgewell is from.

Worsfold said from initial reactions the descendents are excited to come and celebrate.


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