VALPARAISO | You know it's been a tough winter when even Santa loses his head.
The Santa statue in front of the Valparaiso's Parks Department offices at Foundation Meadows Park on Campbell Street might be giving small children concern, like some horrible vision from "The Nightmare Before Christmas."
The jolly, waving figure, long a staple of the city's Christmas season landscape, has stood headless, but still waving, since a city Public Works Department crew began disassembling him Monday for storage until next holiday season.
Public Works Director Matt Evans said the equipment used to hoist the heavy parts broke down after the head was removed. The crew then discovered Mr. Claus is frozen to the ground.
"With the freezing and thawing of the ground, he sank into the soil and then it froze solid," Evans said.
Complicating the situation has been the recurring snowstorms. The crew hasn't been able to work on Santa or fix the equipment because they have been busy plowing the streets.
To prevent the hollow statue from filling with snow, a blue tarp was placed over the opening where the head was. Evans said he expects to have Santa dislodged from the ice and properly stored by the weekend.
"With the warmer weather, we will probably end up putting salt around his feet to loosen it up, and we will get the equipment running," he said.