As people gathered in the Alberton community center to enjoy an evening of games and a potluck dinner late last week, a peculiar character was perched in the corner of the room. It was a green furry fellow, with a pot-belly and snub-nosed dressed in a Santa suit. Dr. Seuss fans would immediately recognize the popular 1957 character from the story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” — the famous Grinch himself.
Matt Sibert, the costume’s creator, said he made it to get more people interested in activities happening in the area. With his yellow, cat-like eyes and furry green paws, kids gathered around to get their photos taken and to try and wrestle the beast.
The Friday, Nov. 30 event was the PEAK Foundation’s Annual Tree Lighting ceremony, along with a potluck dinner. Community members were welcome to share a dinner, play games and leave candles under the tree in remembrance or to honor loved ones. This year, they had planted a new tree in front of the Alberton Community Center and decorated it for the ceremony where family members could also have their picture taken.
The idea for the Grinch came from a friend of Matt’s, Tammy Zunski. She said her kids love the Grinch and Sibert’s build was similar to that of Jim Carrey who played the character in the 2000 movie, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” This sparked his interest in making the costume which took nearly a month of gluing green fur to a body suit and onto a latex mask.
Sibert enjoys making costumes and sets for plays, “When I was in college I wanted to work for Jim Hensen Productions, the Muppet creator,” he said.
Now he has put together, Natural Pier Productions along with other Alberton community members where they put on dinner theater, plays and other productions. He was surprised at the number of Grinch sightings at Christmas events this year “There was one at the Missoula Parade of Lights, and one in Kalispell at their ceremony of lights,” Sibert said.
Before Sibert’s Grinch goes back to the famed town of Whoville, he will make a couple more guest appearances in Alberton, including the kids’ Christmas store at the Alberton Community Church on Dec. 14.
As for his next project, Natural Pier Productions will be putting on a play he wrote in March. Starting in January, they will be looking for cast and crew members for the production.