An update on the banning of the Easter Bunny story I wrote about earlier this past week.
Peeps make a quiet stand
The Easter Bunny's expulsion prompts a marshmallow defense
BY JASON HOPPIN
The "Vision of Peace" statue in the St. Paul City Hall building, is ringed with marshmallow birds and Easter decorations.Marshmallow Peeps, the popular Easter candy made of sugar, corn syrup and gelatin, have become a new symbol of protest in St. Paul these days.
The "Vision of Peace," a 36-foot, 60-ton onyx City Hall statue of American Indians, has become the stage for a peculiar form of civil discourse. Since last week's decision to kick the Easter Bunny out of a City Council office, a handful of employees have ringed the statue with the spongy chick- and rabbit-shaped candies.
Two laminated signs even announce the statue's temporary new moniker — "Vision of Peeps."
It began last week, when someone left a couple of Peeps boxes at the base of the statue. But over the weekend the marshmallow critters, as rabbits tend to do, multiplied. There are now about two dozen boxes.
"From a building standpoint, no comment!" said a laughing Jolly Mangine, Ramsey County's director of property management. "We're just going to let it ride."
Just Born, the company that manufactures Peeps, even issued a statement after being informed of the display.
"It is a shame that the Easter Bunny hopping through City Hall has caused such a disturbance. We are sure that the regal 'Vision of Peace' statue does not mind sharing a little glory and spring fever with us — the Peeps," the company said.
News of the Easter Bunny's exile fanned out across the country Thursday, leading to an angry backlash. But around City Hall, the story was met with humor. Mayor Chris Coleman, tongue planted firmly in cheek, said that a bunny was a vicious animal bent on attacking small children.
"I don't think we can laugh about these things. Have you ever seen 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'? This is a killer. We had to do something," Coleman said. "... We can have bunnies in City Hall. (Staff) can have bunnies, you know, as long as they're not killer bunnies."
The furor began after St. Paul human rights director Tyrone Terrill suggested that the Easter display be taken down because it might offend non-Christians. Terrill has since said his only problem involved an accompanying sign that said, "Happy Easter."
On Monday, the Easter Bunny returned to City Hall in a big way. A morning radio program — KS95's "Greg and Cheryl Show" — sent over a staffer in a 6-foot pink rabbit costume, carrying a "Bring Back the Bunny" sign and handing out candy to passersby. Radio host Greg Thunder said the rabbit was a hit.
The affair also has made for strange bedfellows.
On Friday, one of St. Paul's more liberal politicians, Dave Thune, landed on conservative Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly's show, where the council member said the story is a case of good intentions gone awry.
Thune described his political polar opposite as "cordial."
"It is a shame that the Easter Bunny hopping through City Hall has caused such a disturbance. We are sure that the regal 'Vision of Peace' statue does not mind sharing a little glory and spring fever with us — the Peeps."