December 21, 2014

African interloper cause for commuter rubber-necking

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Drivers on Route 2A can catch a glimpse of a decidedly non-native creature peering over a hedge—a 12-foot-tall tin giraffe. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

Drivers on Route 2A can catch a glimpse of a decidedly non-native creature peering over a hedge—a 12-foot-tall tin giraffe. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

January 30th, 2014

Commuters heading down Route 2A may do a double-take at an unexpected face peering over a hedge: that of a 12-foot-tall giraffe.

A dusting of snow on the African animal’s nose and ears confirmed what a closer look might have revealed—the creature is made of tin.

Long-time resident Bert Moffatt said people have been stopping by to take photos and ask about his rather large front lawn ornament, particularly families whose children may not have ever seen a giraffe, albeit a tin one.

“If this things bring a little bright spot to kids, it certainly serves its purpose, because that’s really important to me,” Moffatt said.

Cheryl Bodette, who works in Williston at Vermont Custom Closets, said she always looks for it when she drives by.

“It always catches your eye,” she said. “You kind of wonder if there’s going to be other animals that will poke their heads above the hedge.”

Moffatt ordered the sculpture—just a few feet shy of the height of an adult giraffe—from Hardwick artist Piper Strong, who owns Strong Metal Works.

“I like peculiar things,” Moffatt said, motioning to a sculpture of a perch with a cigarette in its mouth on his mantelpiece. In his backyard, a larger-than-life fiberglass cow gazes over the yard.

Moffatt selected the giraffe as a birthday gift for his wife, Sharon, who is fond of the rangy ruminants, he said.

“I said ‘What the heck, we might as well get the mother of all giraffes,’” he said.

Though Moffatt said he wasn’t trying to attract attention, the giraffe does make for a good landmark.

“Perhaps it seems a little out of the ordinary, but if it makes some people happy that’s really good,” Moffatt said.

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