Cue the Confetti: Mascot Hall of Fame Set for First Induction Ceremony in Whiting
(WHITING, Ind.) - Giant fuzzy gorillas, badgers, birds, and whatever the Phillie Phanatic is descend on northwest Indiana this weekend.
The original Phillie Phanatic, Dave Raymond, founded the Mascot Hall of Fame as a website in 2005, and inducted 17 mascots in three years. That was it until 2017. Executive director Orestes Hernandez says a mutual friend introduced Raymond to Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura, who was looking for a tourist attraction. The three-story interactive children's museum opened its doors six months ago.
The new inductees show a hometown influence with the election of the mascots of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks, who play 20 miles from the museum's front door. They'll be joined by the Penn State Nittany Lion and the Kansas City Royals' lion mascot Sluggerrr. Inductees receive a trophy for display at their home stadiums.
There'll be a free street fair outside the hall on Saturday and Sunday, with appearances by 12 of the 17 mascots already inducted, and attractions including a Blackhawks-sponsored shoot-the-puck booth.
Hernandez says the museum has averaged a little more than two-thousand visitors a month. With the warmer weather, he's hoping to pick up the pace enough to hit 50-thousand for the year.
The Hall of Fame is revamping the induction process ahead of balloting for the 2020 class this fall. It's adding a nominating committee to create a ballot. A first week of fan voting will narrow the field to 10 finalists, with a second week determining who's elected.
Chicago Blackhawks mascot Tommy Hawk (Photo: Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)