Trolls to invade Burlington County, 13 more wanted to turn abandoned area into lively park

A little off the beaten path on Route 38 in Hainesport, New Jersey sits a giant structure of recycled scraps, better yet a troll, just relaxing in an abandoned section of the woods.

"To see all of this stuff together to make a big thing is just really exciting," said Michelle Glidewell, who was visiting the site. 

That big thing is named Big Rusty, and ever since she was built last year, people from all over the world and those a little closer, like Glidewell, from Audubon, NJ, have visited the famous site. 

"It’s really big, bigger than I was anticipating," said Glidewell.

The 20-foot-tall giant was built by Thomas Dambo, a world-famous artist from Denmark.

Dambo was making his way around the country wanting to build these structures in areas across the U.S., one being in Mayor Leila Gilmore’s town of Hainesport, New Jersey. 

"I knew nothing until I Googled, but once we did, we saw his work and it was so amazing, we just jumped on the project," said Gilmore.

A project that took roughly seven days to complete, but Big Rusty is part of two bigger projects. 

The city of Hainesport plans to make the abandoned graffiti-filled area into a thriving park near Rancocas Creek. 


The other project is a Burlington County initiative. 

"With Big Rusty as our inspiration, Burlington County is setting out to amplify Dambo’s message," said Commissioner Allison Eckel, Burlington County.

They plan to do this by calling on artists, both amateur and professional, to submit original drawings and plans to design thirteen more completely unique trolls. 

The new trolls will be a lot smaller, at around 4 feet tall, to live amongst the county.

One of the towns that has their eyeballs on getting one of Big Rusty’s decedents is right here in Mount Holly.

Mount Holly officials say once they get their troll they’re hoping that it brings more traffic to the downtown area. 

"People look to Mount Holly for events. We are pretty big on that, so, I think it’s perfect to get more people in town, which in turn benefits our businesses," said Jackie DiCarlo, of Main Street Mount Holly.

Officials say they will announce the Artist selections in June, in hopes they will be built by this fall. 

Selected artist will get a $500 stipend to build and install them. 

Artist interested in submitting a design can do so at this link: .