"The Valley of the Jolly Green Giant" refers to the Minnesota River valley around Le Sueur. Today, just before dropping down into the valley heading south on U.S. Route 169 an enormous wooden sign of the Jolly Green Giant, along with the Little Green Sprout, is visible with the caption "Welcome to the Valley." Since the sign pokes up through the trees, it has become a source of minor controversy as it frequently startles motorists.
Sixty miles further south on Route 169, in the city of Blue Earth, Minnesota, stands a 55-foot (17 m) fiberglass statue of the Jolly Green Giant. The statue was first unveiled in 1978, and was set on its permanent base on July 6, 1979. The statue attracts over 10,000 visitors a year.
The statue was the idea of Paul Hedberg, the founding owner of the local radio station KBEW. During weekdays in the summertime Hedberg would interview people passing through Blue Earth on U.S. Highway 169 for his popular radio program "Welcome Travellers." At the end of each interview, Hedberg presented guests with a sample of the peas and corn which had been produced by the town's Green Giant canning plant, along with a sample of what passed for the blue riverbed clay that gave the town its name. A common theme arising in these interviews was a desire to "see the Green Giant."