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Aug. 1, 2021 | Sunday
Local News
'Silly walk' signs bring smiles through COVID pandemic
Felix and Lucy Vollmer do their silliest walks in front of their Dorchester Street home. (Richard Harley)

Sometimes the smallest gestures that can bring immense joy, especially during a global pandemic.

That was the goal of the Vollmer family when they placed two quirky signs on their lawn, encouraging people to do "silly walks" when passing by their Dorchester Street home.

The signs let walkers know they have officially entered "the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Silly Walks" and that between two signs they must perform their silliest silly walk.

Mom Sophia Vollmer said it was just a funny idea she found on a British Instagram account, largely inspired by Monty Python's Flying Circus, and she hoped it would lighten people's moods during the pandemic.

"I thought it would bring more joy to the neighbourhood," she said when reached by The Lake Report.

Her husband and their three chilren Mika, Felix and Lucy moved into the home in December, as a temporary spot while they build a new home on Irvine Road, said Vollmer, and the sign has been a source of amusement.

She said not everyone participates — maybe about 10 per cent do, and mostly "husbands" — but the kids have found joy watching people to see whether or not they're going to join in.

People usually do the "long stride marching kind of walk,"  she said.

"I've seen a couple people maybe spin, do a kind of spin around and walk, but typically it's like the long stride exaggerated military walk," she said.

"And at the very beginning, a ton of people would stop, and read it, and I would say maybe, maybe 10 per cent silly walked," she said.

"The kids would watch it out the window and they'd be like, 'Oh, are they gonna do it, are they gonna do it?' Most people wouldn't, but we caught a couple people doing it. Mostly it's the husbands who do it. If it's a single person they won't do it at all. There's higher chances if it's two people walking."

"We've had lots of people stop and take pictures of it. And then we kind of bust them and say that if they take a picture they have to do a silly walk for it," she said. "And if they're caught, they do it."

Vollmer said she's even received a letter from a neighbour who wanted to "apply for the position."

"It was delivered one Saturday morning. She rang the doorbell and handed over and it was a whole letter saying she was applying for the position."

She said it's been a source of entertainment for the kids.

"At the very beginning they got a kick out of it. I was kind of like 'Guys I found this. Would you like to do this?' and they were all over it and so we tried to find a way that it would last and it's lasted throughout the whole snow and everything. It's made it through rain and everything."

Cathy Macdonald, who lives nearby in Chautauqua, said she noticed the sign one day and proceeded to do her best silly walk.

"I laughed out loud when I saw these signs and did my best (very bad) John Cleese silly walk," Macdonald said, in a message to the paper about the sign.

Vollmer was delighted to hear people have enjoyed it.

"It's been well-received, I would say."

 

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