On April 1st, Waynesboro native and long-time creator of unique 3-D art Mark Cline erected five life-sized elephant statues atop Waynesboro's slowly-greening landfill hill on the east side of town at the base of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The display, titled "Hannibal Crosses the Blue Ridge," was intended to be in place for one month. Waynesborians were fascinated with this new point of interest, which was clearly visible from many places along Main Street and particularly clear from the Main-Delphine intersection.
With official permission from City Manager Mike Hamp, we visited the display three days before the scheduled removal (April 30) and were able to get up close and personal with the fiberglass pachyderms. Buffetted by strong winds, we marveled at the sense of fun these creatures elicit, from the snarling yet somehow endearing, fur-caped Hannibal shaking his fist atop Elephant #1 to little tag-behind Elephant #5. Clearly the winds had attempted at one point to throw them all off the hill into the valley, but some ankle-weights and two-by-fours have solved that problem.
A number of Waynesborians have rallied to keep the elephants on Landfill Hill, and for good reason. Word is spreading across the region, state, and even the country about the unique creatures, and this word may well generate new tourists to town. For a very long time now, Waynesboro has depended upon tourism for a large part of its livelihood. This artistic curiosity shows our sense of fun and imagination. And if people drive into Waynesboro to get a glimpse of the elephants, they may well hang around and find other interesting things to explore while here.
At the moment, the elephants remain until further notice. It could be they will remain in place until after the Fall Foliage Festival in October. Maybe longer. Time will tell. There are issues concerning those who live near the elephants as to how to keep folks from trespassing on their land to reach the statues. Our advice is simple and clear - bring your binoculars and view them from town, which was the initial intent. Or, if you simply must see them up close, make sure you obtain official permission from the City Council.
And to Mark Cline we say, "Thanks! We're loving your critters!"