Armchair photo tours: Does the world’s largest egg reside in Winlock, Washington?

The World’s Largest Egg in Winlock, Washington (photo by Cheryl Landes)

In the small town of Winlock, south of Olympia, Washington, a giant egg rests on a pedestal on a 10-foot-tall blue metal pole in the middle of Vern Zander Memorial Park at the corner of Old Highway 603 and Fir Street. The 12-foot-long, 1,200-pound marvel was funded in 1991 by local chicken hatcheryman and Lions Club member Vern Zander, a poultryman and community promoter who helped put Winlock on the map as The Egg Capital of the World . After he died in 1993, the Lions Club named the park after him.

This is the fourth giant egg in Winlock. The first was built out of canvas in 1923. In 1944, it was replaced by a plastic egg, which was replaced with a fiberglass egg in the 1960s. The fiberglass egg looked more like a ball, so it was replaced with the latest version.

On the third Saturday in June, Winlock Egg Days celebrates with a parade, car and magic shows, and free egg salad sandwiches. The town has hosted this event since 1921.

And we can’t forget the egg cup collection at the Renegade Rooster Winlock History Collection, the local history museum.

The World’s Largest Egg in Vern Zander Memorial Park in Winlock, Washington (photo by Cheryl Landes)

But this egg-ceptional story doesn’t end there. At the base of the pedestal, the words, “World’s Largest Egg”, are painted in white letters on two sides. But is this giant egg really the world’s largest? It depends on who you ask.

The town of Mentone, Indiana, challenges Winlock’s claim. That’s because they have a big egg, which was built in 1946. Local egg farmers came up with the idea. The 10-foot-high, 3,000-pound concrete egg, painted white, has an egg basket and “The Egg Basket of Indiana” inscription in the state’s outline. The egg is anchored in a concrete base at the southeast corner of East Main Street (Highway 25) and South Morgan Street.

The World’s Largest Egg in Mentone, Indiana (photo credit: Visit Indiana/Indiana Destination Development Corporation)

Mentone also has an egg festival on first weekend in June. A parade, basketball tournament, baby contest, fun run and walk, cornhole, and barbecue are among the highlights–along with the car, truck, and tractor show.

So, the Menton egg is almost twice as heavy as Winlock’s egg, but Menton’s egg is two feet shorter. Some Indianans like to point out that their egg hasn’t been replaced, unlike Winlock’s egg.

But there’s more…

There’s another big egg on Avenue D in Wilson, Kansas, which was painted in a traditional Czech egg pattern to commemorate the town’s heritage. Sharon Holloway, former president of the Wilson Chamber of Commerce, came up with the idea in 2003. Christine Slechta, an art teacher at the Wilson High School, designed the egg pattern.

The 20-foot-high, 15-foot-wide fiberglass egg was delivered in August 2012. For the next four years, volunteers painted the egg and built a gazebo around it. The The World’s Largest Czech Egg was dedicated on July 29, 2016 at Ed & LaVange Shiroky Park. The park is at 2520 Avenue D, on the corner of 27th Street (Old U.S. Highway 40) and Avenue D.

The World’s Largest Czech Egg at Ed & LaVange Shiroky Park in Wilson, Kansas (photo credit: KansasTravel.org)

So, the egg in Wilson is larger than the eggs in Mentone and Winlock, but eggs in Indiana and Washington aren’t decorared in a traditional Czech egg pattern.

But there’s even more! There’s another giant egg in Canada.

The Pysanka, the Ukrainian word for Easter egg, is located in Vegreville in Alberta, Canada. The egg is decorated in a traditional Ukrainian design and measures 25.7 feet long, 18 feet wide, and 31 feet high. It has an aluminum skin and spins like a weathervane when strong winds blow in the prairie.

The egg was designed by Paul Maxum Sembaliuk, a Canadian artist of Ukrainian descent, and Ronald Resch, a computer scientists from the University of Utah. The intricate design includes 524-star patterns, 2,208 equilateral triangles, 3,512 visible facets, 6,978 nuts and bolts, and 177 internal struts. The Pysanka is recognized worldwide as a unique artistic masterpiece and a pioneer of nine mathematical, architectural, and engineering firsts. 

The Pysanka (World’s Largest Easter Egg) in Vegreville, Alberta (photo credit: Travel Alberta)

The Pysanka was dedicated in 1976 to honor the centennial of the Canadian Royal Mounted Police (RCMP or Mounties). Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward, and Prince Andrew visited Vegreville in 1978 to see the egg.

The Pysanka is located at 4500 Pysanka Avenue, in Elk’s Park on the north side of Highway 16 Alt, just west of 49th Avenue in Vegreville.

Vegreville has a festival celebrating its Ukrainian heritage the first weekend in July.

So, can we crack this case? Here’s what we have:

  • The Pysanka in Alberta wins hands-down as the largest in North America.
  • The Czech egg in Kansas reigns as the largest in the U.S.
  • If we look at the size of decorated eggs in North America, then the Pysanka egg is the largest.
  • For the oldest continuously installed egg, the Indiana egg wins.
  • Winlock was the site of the first giant egg and has had the most replacements.
  • The newest egg is in Kansas.
  • The most technical egg is the Pysanka in Alberta.
  • The Pysanka is the only giant egg visited by royalty (as far as we know).
  • The only egg that isn’t decorated is in Winlock, if we count the artwork on the egg in Indiana, but the Indiana egg isn’t decorated for a holiday.

Where’s the World’s Largest Egg? The answer depends on your perspective.

Chicken statues in Winlock, Washington (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Vern Zander Memorial Park is located across the railroad tracks from the Washington Egg & Poultry Association Co-op in Winlock, Washington (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Zinnias in bloom next to a welcome sign in the flower bed under the World’s Largest Egg in Winlock, Washington (photo by Cheryl Landes)

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