Monday, June 17, 2019
Hailey’s Welcome Takes on a Colorful Twist
Andy Hawley shows off his latest “Welcome to Hailey” sign.
Monday, December 24, 2018



Those flying into Hailey will know where they’ve landed, thanks in part, to a 16-year-old boy.

Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle unveiled the newest “Welcome to Hailey” sign on Thursday. The sign, at the corner of Aviation Drive and Jetstar Lane, will greet both visitors and residents as they leave Friedman Memorial Airport and Atlantic Aviation.

Dave Swaner provided the metal fabrication for the metal-backed sign.

The sign evokes an actual 1950s billboard that said “Welcome to Hailey, the Friendliest City.”

“The Airport is called Friedman Memorial Airport. The booking acronym is SUN. I wanted to make sure travelers leaving the airport know they are in Hailey, Idaho, the best city in the Wood River Valley,” said Haemmerle, who initiated the project.

The sign is similar to that of the Hailey welcome sign near Fox Acres Road on Highway 55--with one big exception.

The sign, which features backlit letters set in historic type and the outline of Hailey’s Carbonate Mountain skyline, lights up.

Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle, right, decided Hailey needed this sign so air passengers, as well as highway motorists, would know where they are.

What’s more, the lights change colors. Right now they are rotating between the Christmas colors of red and green. Come Fourth of July they can bleed red, white and blue.

Designer Andy Hawley of Hawley Graphics, who designed the highway welcome sign, told the city “I think I can do it what you want.”

Then he was told the sign would be lit, which threw a whole other dynamic into the project.

“People told me I couldn’t do it. But I hunted around and finally found a company that deals with lighted signs in Reno. But it wasn’t quite like I wanted. So I found an international sign company that could do exactly what I wanted,” he said.

That wasn’t the end of the story, however.

Hawley still had to find a lighting wiz. And he found one in 16-year-old Benjamin Copenbarger, a homeschooler who is into computers.

He's made it so the lighting even pulsates.

“I put him to work and it worked out great,” said Hawley. “It was quite different from anything I’ve ever done before but it happened. It’s lighting now and it’s new technology. It has the full spectrum of the rainbow colors so you can program it to show any color you want. And people will definitely know where they are when they see it. Not Ketchum. Not Sun Valley, but Hailey, Idaho.”


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