Vermont has long been known for being very accepting of free-spirited people, but a man spotted several times this week on Burlington's Church Street Marketplace may be one of the freest spirits of them all.
The man has been strolling onto the marketplace the way he first entered the world: completely naked, save for sneakers on his feet and a bandana on his head.
"You could hear everyone laughing," recalled Cece Wick, who saw the man walk by Tuesday afternoon while she was eating lunch al fresco. "He walked down the marketplace with a little bag — he had obviously done some shopping."
Although necn was unable to locate anyone who knew the man or spoke with him, everyone sure noticed his presence.
"I thought 'wow, he's wearing a lot of beige,'" laughed Tom Locatell, noting he did a double-take when he spotted the naked man. "It was an all-over tan, I'll tell you that much."
For at least two days this week, the nude dude's been turning heads on Church Street, the busiest shopping and dining district in the largest city in Vermont.
While one Church Street retailer sells t-shirts and other products urging people to "Keep Vermont Weird," the nude dude was a bit too weird for weiner seller Dave Stoll.
"Being naked doesn't bother me whatsoever," the food vendor told necn. "The part that bothers me is they're running around naked when there's very young kids around."
One man on Church Street told necn he believed the naked person to just be exercising his rights, albeit in an unusual way.
Burlington Police Lt. Paul Glynn said under state law, there's not much the city's officers can do, as long as the man left home naked, and is not disrobing in public, harassing people, or touching himself.
"I would imagine this is no more than attention-seeking behavior," Glynn said. "It's not necessarily illegal. Certainly we feel it's inappropriate — it's not the venue."
Glynn noted the presence of many young children on the marketplace with their families during the day in the summer.
Glynn said if merchants on Church Street feel uncomfortable, by all means they should feel free to deny this man service if he shows up again.