Apple Boy stands 12-feet tall, just outside the Old Apple Bar, in Mountain Park. Photograph by Douglas Merriam.
BILL AND BEVERLY NIFFENEGGER BOUGHT A 1941 apple barn in Mountain Park with plans to open a computer graphics school in it. That idea faded, and in order to attract a new buyer, they stuck a little store in one end and posted a sign out front. “People came,” Bill says. “And kept coming. It became a destination.” They took it off the market and grew the store into the Old Apple Barn, a you-gotta-see-it market, fudge factory, soda fountain, bistro, and more. In 2010, Bill, an accomplished artist, made it a true roadside attraction by crafting an intentionally goofy statue. Over the course of three months (“and a lot of beers”), he molded pressure-treated lumber, foam, plaster, and stucco into the ever-cheery Apple Boy, who now welcomes up to 80,000 visitors a year. The 12-foot-tall figure weighs about 500 pounds. His legs drive four feet into solid concrete, and a steel post stabilizes the torso. “He’s not going anywhere,” Bill says. “You can’t have something like that flying onto people’s cars.” You can still take him home, though—as an Apple Boy bobblehead. Buy it inside, at the Niffeneggers’ accidental emporium.
The Old Apple Barn is open daily, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., at 949 US 82 in Mountain Park, near Alamogordo; 505-682-2276.