For the past several decades, a friendly 30-foot fiberglass dude wearing a handsome white suit and hat has been a fixture around the greater Springfield, Massachusetts area, and since 1999 he has greeted motorists from his perch off the Massachusetts Turpike's Exit 6 off-ramp in front of the Plantation Inn in Chicopee. Back in 1970, a Mr. Mario Cantalini bought the Big White Guy, also known as Plantation Man or Southern Man (but not the Neil Young "Southern Man"), from a Framingham, Mass. pizza restaurant and converted him into an Uncle Sam for his Springfield Ford dealership. Then, in 1999, after he sold his dealership, he gave the big dude a monochromatic wardrobe makeover and moved him in front of his new business, the Plantation Inn in Chicopee. Mr. Cantalini passed away last year at age 94, and now his relatives have closed the Inn and put the property, Big White Guy and all, up for auction last November. They didn't get their asking price for the Inn, but Big White Guy was sold for $11,500 to a Mr. Charlie Arment, Jr., a local businessman who bought the dude on behalf of a group of partners who plan to keep the statue somewhere in the greater Springfield area.
Good on you, Mr. Arment, for having your heart in the White place, being in the White place at the White time and doing the White thing by keeping Big White Guy local. You deserve a big hand.
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