World's Largest Cuckoo Clock
After exploring Achor Valley Cemetery and refueling at the Steel Trolley Diner, I headed to Sugarcreek, Ohio to see the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock. Sugarcreek, or the "Little Switzerland of Ohio," is part of a few towns that growing up we just referred to as Amish Country due to their large Amish and Mennonite populations. We used to take day trips there all the time when I was a kid and my mom had a crafts business—I've always loved any place where you can sample myriad dips, cheeses and chocolates.
The World's Largest Cuckoo Clock was built in 1972, and featured on the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1977. It appears as if other clocks have since eclipsed its "World's Largest" status, but it's probably the biggest one I'll ever see and is certainly the biggest one in Ohio. The clock was commissioned by the family that ran the Alpine Alpa Restaurant, in Wilmont Ohio, and the clock was moved to Sugarcreek when the restaurant closed in 2009. The working clock is 23 feet tall and 24 feet wide and on the half hour a cuckoo bird pops out along with a Swiss polka band and a dancing couple.
Luckily, I arrived with only a few minutes to spare until 3pm and downtown was deserted on a Monday afternoon. Of course about 30 seconds before the hour, people seemingly emerged from nowhere to watch the clock, but I was still able to get a (mostly) unobstructed video of the clock working its magic.
I have a problem keeping clocks in my apartment because the ticking drives me insane, but I've always loved cuckoo clocks. They're whimsical, intricately carved works of art and their mechanics fascinate me. I once bought a cuckoo clock as a Christmas gift and kept it in the trunk of my car. Not realizing that it would still work fully (no electricity or batteries required), it cuckoo'd while its intended recipient was in the car and the surprise was (hilariously) ruined.
Sugarcreek is a tiny town but it's full of Swiss-style buildings with beautifully painted facades. A handful of the businesses even have scenes that include moving parts—like a train going through the snowy mountains—that have always reminded me of the mountain climber in the Cliffhangers game on the Price is Right.