Have you ever been driving on a road trip and come across a giant cow or a giant elephant or a giant mouse and wondered, “who even made that?” It’s a valid question. These weird fiberglass roadside attractions speckle the landscape of America in odd sizes and odd locations, beckoning tourists to take a moment to stop, pull off the road, and gawk. So where did they come from? Well, if a fiberglass character has popped up anywhere in the last 40 years, there’s a good chance that it came from FAST Fiberglass AKA Fiberglass Animals, Shapes and Trademarks (F.A.S.T).
Billing themselves as “the premier manufacturer of fiberglass statues” FAST Corporation in Sparta, Wisconsin produces an unprecedented number of these roadside attractions and water park attractions found all across the USA.
The business opened in the late 1960s/early 1970s as Sculptured Advertising and changed its name to Creative Display in the mid 1970s. In 1983, artist Jerry Vettrus bought out Creative Display and changed the name to Fast for Fiberglass Animals, Shapes, and Trademarks, AKA FAST Corporation. In 2000 James Schauf bought the business from Vettrus and, in 2020 Ryan Lakowske purchased the business and rebranded as FAST Fiberglass L.L.C.
Though the fiberglass statue manufacturers have gone through several owners and names through the years, they’ve always been known for their larger than life fiberglass statues and roadside attractions.
FAST fiberglass statue factory has created statues for thousands of companies around the world. Their catalogue contains hundreds of molds, but they also specialize in creating unique sculptures used for retail displays, water parks, school mascots, landmarks, and more.
Some of their most well-known creations include the 145 foot long Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Musky in Hayward Wisconsin (under Creative Display), countless Big Boy statues, and a 30-foot replica of a human eyeball (which debuted in Chicago and now can be found in Dallas.
But Fast isn’t just a fiberglass statue factory; it is also a garden of unfinished roadside attractions, molds, and fiberglass animals ripe for exploring. Outside of the FAST headquarters lay hundreds of fiberglass creatures in various stages of doneness. Also referred to as the FAST fiberglass mold graveyard, the yard is open for anyone to walk through and explore. It is a fascinating adventure browsing taped-up horses in raw gray next to gloriously painted pirates. FAST is truly a site to behold.
Among rows of guitars and eyeball molds, here are some of the fiberglass figures you can expect to see…
What you’ll find at FAST Fiberglass:
Fiberglass Swan, turtle, and duck:
Unfinished fiberglass roadside attractions and molds:
If you’re stopping in Sparta, Wisconsin don’t forget to also check out one of the fruits of their labor in town: Ben Bikin’, the World’s Largest Bicyclist.
FAST Fiberglass / Fiberglass Animals, Shapes & Trademarks
Location: 14177 County Highway Q, Sparta, WI
Cost: Free to see
Hours: Daylight Hours
Date: August 29, 2008