Call it the conclusion to Clintonville's kangaroo craze.
The marsupial madness that consumed some in the community over the past several months after the city's removal of a quirky landmark is scheduled to culminate in an event May 31 at Clinton Elementary School, 10 Clinton Heights Ave.
An "official unveiling" is set to take place at 11:45 a.m. that day as the now-famous kangaroo-crossing sign that for years graced the side of the road in the 100 block of Clinton Heights Avenue will be installed in the playground during the annual Lunch on the Lawn event that marks the last day of school.
A representative from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will be on hand to receive what Jared Laughbaum, one of the organizers of the day's festivities, called a "giant check" for the relatively modest amount of $156, left over from a GoFundMe campaign launched by ardent kangaroo-crossing sign supporter Scott Hammond. The owner of EccoLyfe Designs, Jeremy Felder, will have a booth to sell "kangaroo swag" he created after city personnel removed the sign from its original location March 12.
Laughbaum, who put the sign up in the first place years ago, said Clint the Kangaroo will make an appearance during the unveiling.
"We wanted to have a real kangaroo, but we got it approved and got onto it a little too late, so we ended up with a costume -- so someone is going to be dressed up as Clint the Kangaroo," Laughbaum said.
The costumed character, he added, will make another appearance July 4 during the Short North's DooDah Parade.
The removal of the yellow kangaroo-crossing notice -- which Laughbaum put up in place of a construction-zone sign left long after the project was completed -- was indirectly the result of a question Ann Miller-Tobin of Grove City posed to WOSU Radio. A former resident of Clintonville, Miller-Tobin asked the station's Curious Cbus segment to look into how the sign came to be there in the first place.
That was how it came not to be there at all after city officials, contacted by a reporter for WOSU, determined that not only were no kangaroos being protected by the sign, but also that it was in the public right of way without authorization.
As a sort of mea culpa, Miller-Tobin founded a page on Facebook called Friends of the Clintonville Kangaroo Killer.
"Indirectly, I am the Clintonville kangaroo-sign killer," she confessed. "My tagline has been 'curiosity killed the kangaroo.' "
Miller-Tobin said she hopes to be able to attend the dedication event.
"I think it's the epitome of Clintonville and its citizens," she said. "I don't think Dublin would have rallied around a sign. I think it's great. It's possibly even just a stress reliever for what's happening nationally and globally. It's provided fodder. It's provided community. It was completely unexpected.
"I never would have thought that my submitting the question quite literally just over a year ago to WOSU would still have this much play."
Mollie Tooker, president of the Clinton Elementary PTA, said the school community is all in when it comes to the kangaroo-crossing sign and what it says about the neighborhood.
"I think a lot of parents are excited that it's going to find a home at Clinton," Tooker said. "It definitely shows that this is a very unique neighborhood with very -- I don't want to say strange -- but strange people who live here. Not to say they don't find importance in bigger things, but they definitely find importance in the uniqueness of the neighborhood. Definitely saving a kangaroo sign would be one way describe Clintonville."
"It makes me realize this is the neighborhood I wanted to live in," Laughbaum said." This is the kind of community I want my children to grow up in. I feel closer to my community than I did before. I'm referred to as the kangaroo guy, and I'm getting used to that. It's just been such a positive outpouring."
Laughbaum, a teacher at Clinton Elementary School, said he recently took some of his students on a field trip. As they were walking along Walhalla Road, the group passed two yards with Clintonville kangaroo signs, and the students thought that was just great, according to their teacher.
"I just love the community accepting this weird, quirky thing," Laughbaum said.