Sep 4th 2009 By Nick Prueher
Wisconsin is famous for more than just beer, cheese and beer-cheese soup (an actual regional specialty). It's also famous for plastic pink flamingos, at least according to the capital city of Madison, which recently named the tacky lawn ornament its official bird
The designation commemorates a legendary 1979 prank by a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison students who planted over 1,000 plastic pink flamingos on the lawn outside the dean's office. Engineered by members of the so-called Pail and Shovel Party, led by Jim Mallon (who would later become executive producer on "Mystery Science Theater 3000"), the stunt has become part of the city's local lore.
However, it wasn't until newspaper columnist Doug Moe began lobbying to make the plastic pink flamingo the official bird of Madison that the City Council took the idea seriously.
"I mean, Madison is a city with five official songs," he wrote. "Our council once debated renaming Bassett Street Ho Chi Minh Trail ...Through it all, we've always managed to laugh at ourselves. So what better symbol than the plastic pink flamingo?"
On Tuesday, the proposition passed by a vote of 15-4, making the lawn ornament the official city bird. We just hope the council members voted with their hearts and not because they were in the pocket of Big Flamingo.
What other legendary pranks deserve to be commemorated?
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