As I watched this fun video, I thought, “Wichita needs a Town Crier!” We need to hire someone who really loves the city to introduce people from out-of-town to Wichita! So many people visit here but don’t really know where to go, so they leave here thinking we have nothing to offer.
Today is INTERNATIONAL TOWN CRIERS DAY!!! A town crier is also called a bellman. They are officers of the court who make public pronouncements or announcements as required by the court. The royal birth comes to mind.
As we saw, sometimes the town crier acts as a tour guide for their city or town. How much fun would that be? They get to dress so elaborately (I wonder how warm that uniform would get in the summer?) The uniform dates back to the 18th century, in a red and gold coat, white breeches, black boots and a tricorne hat.
They carry a handbell to attract attention as they shout the words, “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!” What does that mean? It means “Hear ye, Hear ye, Hear ye!” That is a call for silence and attention. Oyez literally means listen.
The World Town Crier Tournament in England is coming up next month. There will be many competing for the top spot, but only one will be honored to hold the title. Here’s a clip from the tournament in 2013.
In North America, the office of town crier persisted into the early 20th century in some places. At least as recently as 1904, Los Angeles and several adjacent towns had official town criers.
The loudest crier recorded a cry of 112.8 decibels! So I would say the qualifications for being a town crier are that you have a loud mouth and can stand to wear that very heavy uniform (or is it a costume?) in degrees over the century mark.
If I was the Town Crier for Wichita, I’d say this:
I still think we need to have a town crier here in Wichita. That would let everyone know that there’s more here than just prairie grass.