The city of Alexandria, Va., has a new town crier, continuing a tradition that dates back to the early 19th century.
Benjamin Fiore-Walker was selected for the position after a grueling "cry off" last Wednesday, where a total of 12 candidates did their best proclaiming in front of a panel of city officials.
The potential criers were all judged on their "voice strength and clarity, deportment, verbal and nonverbal communication, and interest in Alexandria."
Fiore-Walker is no stranger to dressing up in period costumes, as he has volunteered at Gadsby's Tavern Museum as a tour guide. But his new duties are less about the finer points of bell-ringing and tri-corner hats and more about serving as what could be considered the first generation of social media in the United States. Town criers delivered the news and status updates in a world without papers, television and Twitter.
That's not to say that Alexandria hasn't embraced 21st century technology -- all of the auditions for town crier are on the city's website. But the old custom will live on as Fiore-Wallker makes announcements, reads proclamations and appears at special city events.
Fiore-Walker replaces former town crier William North-Rudin, who served for five years before moving out of state last year.