State News

Traffic cone + weeds = Christmas spirit outside Charlotte

Posted November 20, 2017 2:28 p.m. EST
Updated November 20, 2017 4:01 p.m. EST

— A hearty weed that grew out of a traffic cone and into a local and internet phenomenon in Huntersville, N.C., sparked a surge of Christmas spirit Monday and a back-and-forth between the state Department of Transportation and the local fire department.

For months, the so-called "Cone Weed" grew across the street from the Huntersville Fire Department. Property owner Madeline Phillips said her son mowed around "Cone Weed" during the summer. The weed had a hashtag and a Facebook page.

Last week, in a sign of the coming holiday season, the weed sprouted tinsel and ornaments, and a graphic designer told the Associated Press he was selling shirts with the "Cone Weed" image, with proceeds helping local families.

The goodwill took a turn Monday when a DOT crew yanked the cone up over the weed, scattering the decorations and leaving online what one firefighter described as "a stem."

Social media fought back, and the DOT issued a hasty apology.

"Crews removed #ConeWeed since it was so close to the road. They didn't mean to be a Grinch and disrupt a positive community effort," the NCDOT posted to Twitter.

The "Cone Weed" responded with humor. "Hey friends, I know I got a pretty bad haircut this morning and I'm currently without my cone but I'm still here," it posted to Facebook, along with a promise.

"Weeds keep growing no matter how many times you cut them down."