Killer Bee Capital of the World
Killer Bees have been around since the 1950s, when some African queens escaped a South American lab and began flirting with the local gentry. Their volatile spawn migrated north, growing nastier with each succeeding generation. In October of 1990, they illegally crossed the US border at Hidalgo, Texas.
Most towns would view this occasion with horror, something best left unmentioned in the hope that it would be forgotten. Happily, Hidalgo was blessed with a mayor who knew that killer bees bring honey as well as a sting. John Franz gave the media the buzz: Hidalgo was "Killer Bee Capital of the World" and proud of it. Within two years Franz had wheedled 20 grand from his city's budget to build the World's Largest Killer Bee.
Six years have passed. Mayor Franz is still mayor and Hidalgo has been in Time, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guinness Book of World Records, and a Snapple commercial. Hidalgo sells posters and post cards of the bee, and carts it down Main Street during their annual Border Fest celebration. None of the tourists who wander the streets seem concerned about what, exactly, this town is celebrating.
"What other city of 4,000 has something like this?" brags Mayor Franz, sweeping his arm in the direction of his nasty mascot. "We're not going to follow the leaders anymore. We're going to take some chances and get out there in front."