The Belk-Yates Elves were 12 mechanical toys on display in the Belk-Yates Department Store windows on East Main and Commerce Street in Thomasville, NC from the 1960s through the 1980s. The magical figurines included Santa Claus and his hard-working elves building toys that would be delivered to children for Christmas.
When the Belk-Yates Store (now the Thomasville Antique Emporium) went out of business in the 1990s, the aging, animated figures of Santa and his elves were placed in storage, that is, until 2019 when the City of Thomasville decided to resurrect the holiday toy display and reintroduce them to the public.
To assist in the restoration of the figures, Thomasville Beautification Committee
contacted Lou Nasti, aka “The Geppetto of Brooklyn,” a mechanical display expert from New York who created the figures so many years ago. He happily accepted the challenge of bringing the figures back to life.
Nasti explained that his new Santa’s Workshop will consist of three display windows. The first window will be the workshop where the elves build the toys. The second window features the elves painting and repairing, finishing and sewing of the toys. And the third window will be the packing and shipping with conveyor belts and spinning wheels.
The new and improved “Santa’s Magical Workshop” (featuring a full-size talking Pinocchio) is scheduled for the “Light up the Holiday” events on November 23, 2019.
Funds for the project came from $50000 in community donations.
c/o Thomasville Antique Emporium
12 Commerce Street
Thomasville, NC 27360