Answer Man

A Magic Mystery and Fox History

David Hilbert hasn’t dressed Orlando’s Lady Liberty in Magic blue in years. Who does nowadays remains a mystery.

Photo By Norma Lopez Molina

Who puts the Magic shirt on Orlando’s Statue of Liberty during basketball season?

How does Santa Claus get down the chimney? How does the Easter Bunny get past the pit bull chained to a stake in your front yard? Why does the dilapidated Citrus Bowl still get a New Year’s Day bowl game?

There are simply some questions that may never be answered —including who climbs into the elevated flowerbed beside Lake Ivanhoe near the start of most every pro basketball season and puts a Magic T-shirt on the 8-foot-high replica of Lady Liberty. Officials with the city of Orlando and the Magic say they have no idea. Ditto for the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, whose offices are only a full-court heave away.

But, honestly, do we really want to know? What would be the fun in that?
“It’s probably just ‘Joe Fan,’ ’’ says David Hilbert, who started the tradition in 1995 during the Magic’s playoff run to the NBA Finals but swears he hasn’t done it for many years. When Hilbert worked in an office near the statue, he and a co-worker or two would traipse over and hang a jersey on it in the morning, then in the evening, traipse back to take it off, lest it be stolen.

The city objected and removed the jersey a couple of times but finally got in the spirit and gave its blessing. But these days, the lady is stuck with that cheap-looking T-shirt, not an expensive jersey. Actually, it seems to be two faded shirts pieced together as some sort of anti-theft fashion statement.

Hmm, Answer Man doesn’t recall a plaque below the statue saying, “Give me your tired, poor-quality shirt, your huddled, thieving masses yearning for an NBA title.’’


I just saw a fox on the Rollins College campus. What should I do?

Answer Man suggests you walk up to her and try this can’t-miss pickup line: “I hope there’s a fireman around here, cuz you’re smokin’!’’ Oh, wait—perhaps you’re talking about THE Fox, the 300-pound concrete icon brought out one day a year. In that case, it’s officially Fox Day, and if you’re a Rollins student or teacher, you can chuck the books and take the day off.

Fox Day was started in 1956, when then-President Hugh Mc-Kean decided students needed to enjoy “doing things as a college.” So he dug a 19th-century fox statue out of storage, put it on the campus lawn and announced that everybody could play hooky. The tradition has continued, except for several years in the ’60s, when campuses were a bit too unsettled, even for a sly fox.

No man knoweth the day the fox will appear, save the current president, Lewis Duncan. But students can take a pretty good guess—for the last 10 years, it’s been between April 4 and 12. The fox is rolled out to the flagpole on Mills Lawn before dawn, the chapel bell rings, and the celebration begins. Charter buses arrive to take some students to the beach, and there’s a barbecue on the lawn later in the day.

This being the Internet age, the element of surprise isn’t what it used to be. With a Web cam trained on the flagpole, the fox isn’t so sly anymore.

Answer Man welcomes your questions about the Orlando area. Send queries to

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2018

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2018

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2017 Premier Doctors

Our annual list of over 500 doctors.

Top Doctors 2017

The Annual List of the Top Doctors in Orlando.

Best Doctors 2017

The Annual List of the Best Doctors in Orlando.

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2017

Check out our 2017 list of some of the best chiropractors in the Orlando area.

2017 Premier Veterinarians

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Weekend Happenings Mar 16-18

Our top picks for what's happening in and around Orlando this weekend.

"Be Not Afraid of Greatness..."

Post-grad theater student Amanda Lee assumes nigh every duty as she stages a production of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night'' with an all-female cast of friends.

Weekend Happenings Mar 9-11

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Science Shtick

A mixer at the Orlando Science Center will reach for the stars as well as the heights of humor.

Weekend Happenings Mar 2-4

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.
Edit Module