For those who find themselves passing through Newark, Ohio, keep your hands on the wheel and try not to stare when all of a sudden a massive woven basket weaves into view. No, it’s not the home of the Easter Bunny. The giant picnic basket building belongs to the Longaberger Company, an American manufacturer of handcrafted maple wood baskets, so it’s only fitting that their headquarters is modeled after their best selling product; the ‘Medium Market Basket’.
Longaberger Giant Picnic Basket Building
Dave Longaberger, who founded the Longaberger basket company, was the business visionary who not only tapped into the world demand for hand-woven party baskets, he dreamed up the idea of running his growing organization from the world’s largest replica of one.
There was no need for an architect for the 180,000 square foot building, as the Longaberger Company designed it themselves. The basket handles weigh a reported 150 tons and can be heated during the winter to prevent falling ice and snow.
Longaberger employees, less visionary than their leader, thought maybe Dave was cracking up and had been hitting the bottle at first, but were astounded when they moved into Baskzilla on December 17, 1997. To date, the monument is the world’s largest replica of a woven basket.
The structure is 160 times larger of Longaberger’s medium market basket. It measures 192 feet long, by 126 feet wide at the bottom, spreading to 208 feet long, by 142 feet wide at the roofline. It is a magnificent sight, especially when all lit up at night.
But, according to a fairly sober unemployed former National Enquirer reporter, Longaberger actually built the structure for far more sinister purposes. The reporter claims Dave was a member of the ancient secret organization, the Illuminati and the structure was designed and created for intergalactic sacrificial purposes. Kind of a peace offering to ‘appease the gods’.
Not knowing if the arrival of the interstellar visitors will be peaceful, or if we’ll become prey, the Illuminati figured that the best defense was a good offense and had Longaberger make a massive basket stuffed full of humans, perfect for dash and grab alien shopping.
When we attempted to contact the Longaberger headquarters to either confirm or disprove the Illuminati rumors, all we could get out of them was a recommendation to check ourselves into a treatment center. After exchanging profanities with a dead phone line, we began to suspect that there may be a whole lot more to the story than just drug and alcohol induced dementia.
So, after literally minutes of exhaustive research and purchasing a coffee for a homeless dealer of ancient antiquities, we suspect the truth about the Longaberger basket is far more disturbing than mere alien snack packs. Research revealed that allegedly the Longaberger structure was originally built to be the main office for a proposed Yogi Bear amusement park, which went bankrupt after being sued by the national association of park rangers for defamation of character.
After the demise of the proposed park, it’s rumored that Longaberger refused to accept the bear structures (Yogi and Boo Boo) as part of the deal, because he thought they would make people think of Winnie the Pooh and he didn’t want his product associated with pooh. So, it appears that instead of facilitating alien fast food, the basket is a replica of a cartoon prop and sits in Newark, Ohio as a giant reminder to the whole world that investors are wise not to put all their eggs in one basket.
About Picnic Baskets
Picnic baskets have a rich history and have evolved over time. Here’s some interesting facts and information about their origins:
The tradition of using baskets to carry food and utensils for outdoor dining dates back centuries. However, the concept of a specific “picnic basket” became popular during the Victorian era in the 19th century in England.
Wealthy English people during the Victorian era used ornate, hand-woven baskets made from materials like willow, reed, or rattan. These baskets were designed not only for functionality but also as a fashion statement during outdoor social events.
Picnics themselves have ancient roots, with outdoor communal feasts dating back to medieval hunting banquets and even earlier. However, the idea of a dedicated basket for carrying picnic supplies became more refined and structured during the Victorian period.
These baskets often included compartments and straps to hold cutlery, plates, food and sometimes even space for a bottle of wine. They were often equipped with handles for easy transportation.
Modern Picnic Baskets:
Today, picnic baskets come in a variety of materials, including wicker, canvas and even insulated options for keeping food and drinks at the right temperature.
Modern picnic baskets can be purchased in various sizes and designs, from traditional hand-woven styles to more contemporary versions with specialized compartments for wine bottles, glasses and even built-in coolers. Some picnic baskets today even come as backpacks for added convenience, especially for hikers and those who prefer a hands-free option.
Picnics, and by extension, picnic baskets, hold cultural significance as they represent leisure, outdoor activities and social gatherings. They’re symbols of relaxation, good food and spending quality time with friends and family in a natural setting.
Yogi Bear, a popular cartoon character, was often depicted stealing picnic baskets, which contributed to the cultural association between bears and picnics, even though in reality, bears are not particularly interested in picnic baskets!
The picnic basket’s history is intertwined with the evolution of social customs, leisure activities and outdoor dining. It’s not just a functional item, but also carries a sense of nostalgia and charm, making it a beloved accessory for outdoor dining experiences.