Best Non-Native Species to Participate in a Public Celebration

Giraffe at Charleston tree lighting ceremony

Staff Pick

Dec. 1, 2012

Every little town and village in this God-fearing nation holds a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Seems like a simple enough event to plan, right? Find a big ol' Fraser fir, dust off the twinkle lights and tree trimmings, maybe find some carolers, and, of course, get the best non-creepy Santa you can find who still fits into the suit from last year. Pour the hot chocolate, bundle up (even though it's probably 65 degrees out), and start the countdown. Done, the tree's lit, everyone's happy and we live to light another Advent candle. Not so fast. Last year, Charleston's Office of Cultural Affairs thought they'd get everyone real elfed-up by bussing down Melman, a giraffe who lives at a zoo in Aiken County, to add some savanna flavor to the festivities. Poor Melman, nonplussed by the flashbulbs, loud music, and general jubilation, would have none of it. After bucking and swinging his giraffe head within feet of Madagascar-loving children, he eventually moved-it moved-it back to his trailer. It doesn't take three wise men to figure out giraffes and confetti cannons probably don't mix.

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