Parking meters ‘yarn bombed’ for Lyme disease awareness
The parking meters along Main Street are looking more colorful than usual after being wrapped in green yarn over the weekend by groups hoping to raise awareness about Lyme disease.
Volunteers from the Newark Free Library’s Yarnivores and the Newark-based club Knit Together in Love “yarn bombed” 86 meters on Saturday to recognize May as Lyme disease awareness month. The green yarn will remain on the meters until the end of the month.
In addition to yarn bombing, which is a graffiti-style art form that involves covering public areas with yarn, volunteers on Saturday also attached informational cards to the meters explaining the symptoms of Lyme disease, proper tick removal and how to participate in the nationwide “Take a Bite Out of Lyme Disease Challenge.”
The groups, which last month yarn bombed trees along the James F. Hall Trail, obtained the city’s permission to do the project.
The effort was a dream come true for 50-year-old Mimi Eastman of Wilmington, who has had chronic Lyme disease for the past 18 years. She has dedicated much of her time to raising awareness about the disease and jumped at the opportunity to do her first yarn bomb after recently joining the Yarnivores.
“These are two of my favorite things to do: knit and raise awareness about Lyme disease,” she said.
It was Eastman’s idea to yarn bomb Main Street. She said she wanted their efforts to be seen in the most noticeable, high-traffic area in Newark in order to make the most impact.
“It’s funny because growing up, I used to cruise the streets of Newark with my girlfriends and now I’m putting yarn on the meters,” she said, laughing.
Twenty-nine women, along with their friends and family members, spent hours knitting the covers before sewing them onto the meter poles over the weekend. Eastman said each of the 86 covers took between one and four days to knit, depending on the pattern and speed of the knitter.
She said several people walking along Main Street stopped to ask her and the other volunteers what they were doing.
“It’s not every day you get to see a parking meter with a knitted sweater on,” she said.
Eastman hopes the green meters on Main Street get people thinking about Lyme disease so they are aware of the symptoms, get diagnosed early and get the proper treatment before the illness becomes chronic.
Saturday may have been her first yarn bombing, but it won’t be her last. She said she wants to cover Main Street meters again next May and expand the effort to cover the clock near Grassroots and the lamp posts downtown as well.
“There’s so much more we could do,” Eastman said.
For more information about Lyme disease, visit www.ilads.org or www.lymediseasechallenge. org.
Laura Mackey poses with a yarn-bombed parking meter on Main Street.