Discovering Fred's Flying Circus

Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 5:21 PM CST
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There are many out-of-the-way places in our state that are worth seeing, and a unique sculpture garden in Grand Island is one of them.

We visited G.I. Body Shop in Grand Island recently to talk with employee Keith Anderson. He gave Pure Nebraska a tour of "Fred's Flying Circus", which is next to the body shop and features cars and other sculptures on poles for people to view from the street for free. "Fred was the body shop owner here in Grand Island, and he was a real good guy. He passed away a few years ago, and we still miss him," Anderson said. "Fred happened to see the movie 'Cars' that had the wrecker in it called 'Mater'. He'd seen this Jeep one day. He picked it up, brought it back to the shop, and made a wrecker called the 'Peppermint Kidd', and put it on a pole for people to see." Fred made many more creations after the first one.

"Some of the sculptures are made out of concrete," Keith said. "Some of them are made out of fiberglass." It turns out there are no engines in the cars, as they would have been too heavy to put on a pole. But they were at one time real cars. Some of the other cars include a red hot rod with a "Hollywood Wolf" inside, as Anderson described it. There is a police car that's an old Studebaker, there's a car dedicated to the "Coney Island" restaurant in downtown Grand Island. There's a car dedicated to Fred's mother, and there's the Flying Purple People Eater car. "That song was real popular when Fred was younger, and he always really liked it, and I remember that song when I was a kid," Anderson said. Also on display is a tri-plane that Fred made out of an old Volkswagen.

There are many other cars on display at "Fred's Flying Circus", and there are a number of cartoon characters that people will recognize. "There's quite a few people that stop and visit, and they bring their kids." Be sure to check out this attraction in Grand Island when you get a chance.

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