Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg sign shakers can keep on dancing

Human billboards are expected to be dancing hard all over St. Petersburg.

The City Council will not stop them from shaking, jumping or spinning on street corners.

A formal vote is expected tonight on regulation of the display of commercial signs, which includes sign wavers. An earlier proposal would have banned so-called sign spinners from waving or moving signs along roadways.

But at the urging of business owners and sign wavers, council members ordered changes to protect sign wavers.

The new proposal does force sign wavers to stay 5 feet off the road and out of parking spaces and forbids interfering with traffic turning into parking lots. Dancing is allowed. One part of the original ordinance remains: The human signs cannot do the hustle or chicken dance while on risers, stilts, vehicles or roofs.

Many human billboards depend on the shaking and dancing to support themselves. For Darryl Hooker, who started Oct. 1 at the Halloween Store on U.S. 19, sign spinning is his primary job. He makes minimum wage. "I need the money," Hooker said.

Liberty Tax Service depends on Lady Liberty to promote itself all over the region.

"We don't do commercials, so this is how we market," said Tyisha Marshall, a three-year employee. "It's like we are a walking commercial. Still, it's about more than touting a business. We have children and bills to pay."

— Eve Edelheit, Times photojournalist

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