VERNAL -- Dinah, the candy-pink dinosaur who has welcomed visitors to Vernal for 40 years, has gone uptown.
The grinning giant has been plucked from her perch in front of the recently demolished Dine-A-Ville Motel and moved to a new city park.The 40-foot-tall sculpture was unveiled back in 1958 by the motel's developer, George Millecam, who hoped the lovely lizard would lure visitors to nearby Dinosaur National Monument -- and his hotel on Main Street.
Dinah turned out to be so popular that the area Chamber of Commerce adopted her image to promote all of northeastern Utah. Since then, her wide-eyed stare and long eyelashes -- not to mention 4,200 pounds of pink fiberglass -- have greeted visitors from the western end of town.
She even made a recent appearance on the MTV program "Road Rules." The touring teens had to give her a fresh coat of pink paint.
Though the credit union taking the place tried to incorporate Dinah into construction plans, managers finally decided she wouldn't fit and donated her to the city.
Late last month, crews arrived with a crane to cut Dinah free from her pedestal and move her, prone on a forklift, to the small park that will be her new home. A small group of people gathered to watch.
"We had to come to say goodbye to the dinosaur," said Willa Rae Dilworth, a local schoolteacher and granddaughter of Dinah's inventor.
Dinah's departure has left two questions on the minds of Vernal residents.
First, what will she hold in her mitten-like paws now that the motel sign is gone? That problem will be solved by the city's elementary school students, and suggestions so far include a cracked dinosaur egg and a brontosaur-sized golf club.
And second, will Dinah's neighbor -- a far more ferocious tyrannosaur that guards the median across the street -- be lonely?