By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
HUDSON — He stands about two feet high in the corner of Alicia and John Cannistraro’s yard on Manning Street in Hudson.
He’s dressed for the seasons — pool floaties for summer, a heart for Valentine’s Day, patriotic sweatbands for the Olympics.
He’s the subject of Facebook posts — “Whoever lives on Manning St. and has the Dino that is dressed for all occasions…thank you that’s my favorite part of my drive home,” a Hudson resident recently wrote on social media.
He’s the Manning Street dinosaur and his name is Rexy.
“It was shocking to hear because it started out as a way to annoy my wife, and it turned into this thing that everybody loved,” John said after hearing about people’s love of the dinosaur on Facebook.
Dino inspired by local museum
John grew up in Maynard, which is near the Discovery Museum in Acton. Staff there often decorate a dinosaur statue that stands outside of the museum.
“It’s a little homage to going there all the time,” John said of his dinosaur.
The Cannistraros bought their Hudson home in 2017. Rexy was originally a Christmas decoration, who came dressed in a Santa hat.
The first year, John put the dinosaur up on their front steps. He later fastened Rexy to his current perch on the fence for Christmas 2019.
After the holidays came and went, John wondered how many holidays he could get away with decorating Rexy before Alicia made him take it down.
What was her reaction when the dinosaur stayed up after Christmas?
“Roll with it,” Alicia said.
“We’ve been together for nine years, so she’s seen it all,” John joked.
Then COVID-19 struck.
COVID-19 jumpstarts costume fun
Hudson residents organized a town-wide Shamrock Hunt. People got busy creating shamrocks to put in their windows for town kids to find.
“It was nice. We saw all the kids come running, and people were taking pictures with it and going all over town,” Alicia said.
That kicked off Rexy’s costumes. He wore a party hat and held a champagne glass for New Years. Rexy had a balloon when it was John’s birthday. For the summer, he was dressed up in a snorkel and pool floaties.
“We had a COVID wedding last year, and we had our real wedding this year,” Alicia said.
That meant that Rexy was dressed up in a wedding dress made out of tulle in May and a hula skirt and lei when the Cannistraros went on their honeymoon.
Typically, John and Alicia brainstorm Rexy’s costume. But his current outfit of red, white and blue sweatbands, gold medals and a torch was requested by someone on Facebook in honor of the upcoming Olympics.
They think alike, and Alicia had already purchased the torch off Amazon before John suggested it. Some of his other costumes come from PetSmart or the Dollar Store.
The dinosaur followed the same COVID-19 protocols as other Massachusetts residents, donning a mask made out of a towel.
John took the mask off when Gov. Charlie Baker said people no longer needed to wear masks outside.
Dino delights local children
Kids walk past the Cannistraro home on their way to David J. Quinn Middle School. They started putting masks back on Rexy after John took it off.
“Apparently, I took it off too soon,” John said with a laugh.
Since John and Alicia put the dinosaur up, people have taken to social media, sharing their love for Rexy. Someone who makes keychains even gifted some to the Cannistraros.
“People have been so sweet about it. It’s so awesome to put smiles on peoples’ faces and give people some joy in this last year,” Alicia said.
Follow Rexy on Instagram.