If you’ve driven along Rte 7. through Shelburne Village during fall foliage season, you’ve probably seen the (in)famous “Leaf People”. They were a sporadically placed group of colorful scarecrows strategically placed close the the roadside by business people in Shelburne. During the day, the leaf people with their beads, hats and clothing from what appeared to be a thrift shop, welcomed people to town with a stationary wave and a smile. The problem is (according to local news reports) that they were within the highway right of way and therefore illegal. I’ve always said that most criminals are dummies but in this case, its entirely true. However, the leaf people weren’t a malicious lot and were probably a lot safer than some of the human “dummies” walking or biking along the roadside in a careless manner.
I can see where CCTA bus drivers would occasionally be fooled into thinking that the leaf people were flagging them down for a ride. With the leafy folks so close to the road, often times, they looked like real people.
During the day, the leaf people looked colorful and seasonally appropriate. They definitely added some color and style to the town of Shelburne. As nightfall approached, they would take on a creepy, dark appearance that apparently frightened a few people. A drive through Shelburne after dark was a bit like a scene out of Night of the Living Dead, with leaf people zombies standing as motionless shadows along Rte 7. The benevolent leaf people of daylight took on an ominous Freddy Krueger persona at night. What’s wrong with that? After all, fall foliage also means Halloween. The leaf people seemed to fill a dual role as harvest time icons and Halloween horrors.
Yet, there are those people who were scared and offended. I have to wonder if these same people have ever visited Church St in Burlington after dark. Many more scary and potentially dangerous people to be found there. Get over it.
The State of Vermont hauled the leaf people away on one fateful day due to their unlawful acts. Such a terrible crime. Why is it ok for “dummies” at UVM to hold public pot parties without being arrested while Shelburne’s leaf people are hauled away in the paddy wagon?
I’d really like to see the leaf people return. In all seriousness though, I do believe they would be better off being placed a few feet back behind the right of way. They can be a bit of a distraction so close to the road and drivers have more than enough distractions already. They look nice during the day but they’re Halloween cool at night!
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