November 08, 2016
Image courtesy Mascot Hall of Fame
Mascots Are Getting A Hall of Fame and It's Making Benny the Bull Emotional - The Wall Street Journal
Mascots on hand for lively start to hall of fame. - Chicago Tribune
With the help of some fuzzy friends, the National Mascot Hall of Fame recently broke ground in Whiting, Indiana. What was presented to Mayor Joseph Stahura as a fun and innovative idea back in 2014 is now on its way to making this Chicagoland town "the silly, wacky city that could!"
Located just 20 minutes from Chicago, and scheduled to open in spring of 2018, the 25,000-square-foot Mascot Hall of Fame will be brought to life as a state-of-the-art interactive family fun zone. The Hall will feature a number of interactive exhibit areas, including the "Department of Furry Arts", the "Science of Silliness Lab", and the "Phuzzical Education Department". The venue will also host Mascot Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremonies, as well as other original, memorable mascot interactions and performances that will entertain and enthuse children and their families year-round.
"The Mascot Hall of Fame is...honoring the true unsung heroes of sports - the mascots," said Hall of Fame Founder (and original Phillie Phanatic), David Raymond. "This is irreverent and silly and making us laugh even when maybe we don't feel like laughing, which is what the power of fun is all about." Rick O'Connell, JRA Senior Project Designer, added, "mascots exist to bring fun and wackiness to the sports world, so we thought it would be a good thing to bring that to the museum - aim it at children and families - and we think it will be great for the community especially."
JRA Senior Project Designer, Rick O'Connell, gets in the spirit of fun for the groundbreaking.
More than just a fun factory, Raymond and his team want to make sure the Mascot Hall of Fame is an educational resource for the local community. The MHOF will teach children about the roles, craft and science of mascots, creating opportunities for school groups and complementing state and local curriculums. "The project is based on education, so we are really looking to get kids in and school buses in the parking lot," said Stahura. "So we really want to make sure people know that this is a world-class children's activity or attraction."
The groundbreaking ceremony reflected this love of fun and family, featuring mascots such as Mr. Met, Clark the Cub, Tommy Hawk, Sluggerrr, Southpaw, and of course, The Phillie Phanatic, as well as the Hall's own mascot, Reggy. Also on hand were over 400 students from the Whiting School District and Whiting School Marching Band, who marched from Oil City Stadium to the groundbreaking site, where the mascots flipped the dirt to mark the commencement of the Hall's construction.
The Mascot Hall of Fame hopes to welcome 50,000 visitors per year, but Hall of Fame Executive Director, Al Spajer, is already sensing the excitement in the community: "By offering fun-filled learning opportunities for children and school groups, it's going to be a good, upscale family attraction that the city, this region and Chicagoland can really be proud of."
JRA is honored to be providing complete planning, design and project management for this whimsical educational attraction. Want to help decide the next inductee into the Mascot Hall of Fame? Visit www.mascothalloffame.com and place your vote.
Enjoy the video of the groundbreaking ceremony below, and stay tuned for future updates as construction on the Mascot Hall of Fame progresses!
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