Albertans get first look at 16-foot tall Cheeto statue

Worth the drive: Visitors gather to view the Cheetle Hand Statue in Cheadle, Alberta on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. Large amounts of Calgarian’s have rushed to the towering structure since it was first displayed. (Photo by Phil Wachowich/The Press)

Some Calgarians have rushed out to the Alberta hamlet of Cheadle to take a look at what is believed to be the world’s largest Cheeto.

“Art is anything you can get away with,” said Calgarian Ian Matheson. “Something larger than life like this is fantastic. Particularly the cheetle dust on the fingers is what makes it.”

A 16-foot tall statue of a Cheeto was unveiled earlier this month in Cheadle, Alta. about 25 minutes east of Calgary,  The Cheetle Hand Statue depicts a large gray hand, with its fingers covered in bright orange residue, holding onto the cheesy snack.

“You don’t see something like this everyday,” said Geoff Smith, a visitor from Calgary. “It’s only gonna be here for a short time, so I thought well, why not?”

The number of visitors that the statue receives each day surpasses the sub-100 population of the hamlet.

“I don’t know if they were counting on all this traffic here but it’s sure drawing a crowd,” said Smith.

Frito Lay, the makers of Cheetos, chose the small Alberta hamlet as the initial home for the statue due to the similarities in name between Cheadle and cheetle.

“Cheetos fans have always known that the delicious, cheesy dust on their fingertips is an unmistakably delicious part of the Cheetos experience, but now it officially has a name: cheetle,” said Lisa Allie, senior marketing director for PepsiCo Foods,  in a Oct. 4 press release.

As for the debate of what the proper cleaning practice is for consumers when the cheetle dust accumulates, Calgarians had mixed opinions.

“I would probably do a mixture of dusting and licking,” said Matheson. “My wife, because she’s a germaphobe, would not like that.”

“I like it!” said visitor Perry Bissell. “I lick it off!”

Left behind: An abandoned pile of Cheeto’s sits below the Cheetle Hand Statue in Cheadle, Alberta on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. It is common for visitors to bring along the cheesy snack while visiting the roadside attraction. (Photo by Phil Wachowich/The Press)

The cheesy structure will only be located in Cheadle until Nov. 4, with unannounced plans as to where the structure is headed next on a potential Canadian tour.

“It could be a prairie tour to start off with,” said Matheson, speculating where the statue could go. “In a big city it’d be a waste, so it’s got to be small towns.”

You don’t see something like this everyday, it’s only gonna be here for a short time, so I thought well, why not? – Geoff Smith

For Calgary visitors like Matheson and his wife Tannis, the location of the statue is a pleasant excuse to travel through the prairies.

“Coming out of Calgary we frankly don’t come east, we tend to go west,” said Matheson. “It was fun to take a drive today and come out east because it’s been awhile.”

The Cheetle Hand Statue is located at 400 Railway Ave.

About Phil Wachowich 5 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Phil Wachowich is working as a writer for The Press in 2022-23.