ELKINS PARK, Pa. -- Nearly 50 years ago to the day, Monty Python aired a sketch titled, "The Ministry of Silly Walks." Little did they know their physical comedy routine would come to inspire a trend that's keeping spirits high during a global pandemic.
"It's just a little spark of fun and silliness in the middle of everything else that's going on," said Cindy Appelbaum. She found the trend through Instagram and decided to tag along.
She printed a sign that reads, "You have now entered the jurisdiction of The Ministry of Silly Walks. Commence Silly Walking Immediately." It hangs on the fence outside her house, where curious passersby feel compelled to bust a move for the camera. Appelbaum's now joins a dispersed list of Silly Walk jurisdictions, including one in Phoenixville, PA.
Appelbaum posts the videos she captures to her instagram page, @ElkinsPark.SillyWalks. The sign notifies participants that their dances may be posted and Appelbaum never shares videos of non-participants.
Emily Cheramie-Walz was thrilled to hear the Silly Walk sign was near her house when she found it on Facebook. A mother of three boys, she has tried everything to corral them in tough times.
"Honestly, with all of us stuck at home right now, it was just so fun to have something different to do," she said. "And then to go back and look on Instagram and see ourselves and neighborhood friends."
It's those friends that Cheramie-Walz hope will last beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. She says she never knew Appelbaum before the Silly Walk signs were posted.
"People that I've only seen at a distance, I see close-up now because they stop and do silly things in front of my house," Appelbaum said.
When she's not catching silly walkers on camera, Appelbaum is advocating for individuals with special needs, coming away from a 27-year career teaching the community in high school.
She hopes other communities will turn on their cell phone and doorbell cameras and share more Silly Walks in the future.