The good citizens of Ocala have been mighty concerned lately about the man in the pointy-headed white hood waving at cars from a downtown street corner. "Is the KKK back in Florida?" they naturally wondered.
But no. Ocala's most questionable street-corner display is simply an anthropomorphic ice-cream cone gone horribly, horribly wrong.
The Ocala Star-Banner took to the Interwebs this morning to clear up this raging misunderstanding: "Once and for all, people, it's an ice cream cone," the paper reported.
Turns out that Liza Diaz, the manager of Ocala's Ice Cream Family Corner and Sandwiches, doesn't have the firmest grasp of the KKK's troubled history in the American South.
"[She] refers to the white supremacist group as the 'Ku Ku Klan' without a hint of irony or sarcasm," the paper reported, while professing confusion at the backlash against the cone-shaped advertising ploy.
Rumors have flown around Facebook and some customers have boycotted the shop because of the ice-cream man, but the Star-Banner says that if you'd just get out of your car and meet the human ice-cream cone face-to-face, you'd find nothing to be afraid of!
Close up, the costume looks nothing like the white-hooded Klan garb that evokes such strong emotions. Its fluffy white top, flecked with colored sprinkles, curls slightly at its peak, and it sits atop a brown waffle cone.
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But Diaz has bowed to popular pressure. The ice-cream cone man no longer waves at passersby.
"We're a friendly environment, family-oriented," Diaz tells the paper, pleading for customers to come back to try the new Cuban sandwich. "We're not [racist]. We're very friendly, very religious."