THE CHATTANOOGA ELF SPREADING HOLIDAY CHEER

Rock City may hold claim to the gnomes, but around Christmas season elves roam the streets of Chattanooga.

Well, at least one elf—the Chattanooga Elf! If “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” then Robbie Steen, the man beneath the Buddy the Elf costume, is spreading more cheer than most. But Steen is no “cotton-headed ninny-muggins;” the Chattanooga Christian School teacher discovered his talent for impersonating Will Ferrel’s beloved character in 2017 when he attended the local Mainx24 festival downtown.

Where It All Began

“One of my neighbors had an elf costume and it’s been one of my favorite movies for a long time,” Steen explained. “I put it on and was like, ‘hey this is kind of fun. I’ve got the costume, let me try the character,’ so I did and it worked so well that I was kind of sent ahead of the group of students I was at the festival with to do my own thing and work the crowd. I had so much fun, my face was killing me by the end from smiling so much.”

 

Steen—or should I say the Chattanooga Elf—works for hire primarily at corporate parties and other holiday festivities, but you may also see him on a street corner or welcoming customers at a storefront, and his resemblance to the real Buddy the Elf is uncanny. Steen says that the shock of a passerby’s double-take is what he most loves about eflin’ around: “My favorite part is probably all the people I get to meet, and not just meet them, but kind of surprise them, catch them off guard, make them smile.” And for the Washinton-born Chattanooga native, Chattanooga is the perfect place for such an endeavor.

Community

“I love that Chattanooga is a bigger city,  but it still has a community kind of feel where I can do events like Mainx24 and have it really feel like a grassroots kind of event, and I think the people and the size really make this city what it is,” Steen explains. All this to say, keep your eyes peeled this Christmas season, because you may just be approached by an elf who asks, “Does somebody need a hug?”

Photo credits:
Standing elf
Elizabeth Burns Photography
Jumping elf
Heath Austin Photography

 

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