WHITING, Ind. – It’s time to put the spotlight on sports mascots. It’s always fun to watch and see what they’re up to, right? While you plan your next summer road trip, how about visiting a Hall of Fame and museum that’s dedicated to their fun spirit and hard work.
It’s promised to be an un-fur-gettable time.
“It’s ridiculously fun,” said Michele Gustin, the director of business development and consumer engagement at the Mascot Hall of Fame.
It’s a hall of fame for the unsung heroes of sports, the mascots. After 15 months of being closed because of the pandemic, Gustin and the Hall of Fame mascot, Reggy Funfurhuggin is ready to welcome you to this interactive children’s museum to learn the science of silliness.
“What’s really cool is that all of our exhibits are mascot themed, so you really get to experience what it’s like to be a mascot,” said Gustin.
We visited the museum when the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana were taking a field trip. Like them, you can start your day by grabbing a ball and heading to the football field or basketball court. Head upstairs where you can dress up and audition to become a mascot. Take a seat in the theater or feel what it’s like to be your favorite character.
“You can put on a head and find out how much does it weigh, there’s geography, history, we’ve got it all,” explained Gustin. “I like when they’re on the second floor and their putting their hands in what it feels like to be a mascot and pick up things.”
The museum is full of color, games and you guessed it, fur. While it’s designed for a hands-on experience for the kids, they want people of all ages to visit.
“It brings people in from all over. One of my greatest joys is seeing a day like this and the children enjoying themselves,” said Steve Spebar, the mayor of Whiting.
The original Mascot Hall of Fame was founded by David Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic. Now, there are 25 mascots inducted including Indy’s very own Blue from the Indianapolis Colts and Boomer with the Pacers. Both mascots were inducted last year after being voted on by the public.
“You have to meet some requirements, minimum of 10 years as a mascot,” said Gustin, “You have to be a great showman, stunt wise, I like to call it shenanigan wise.”
But most importantly, supporting fans once the game is over and making a difference in their community is what makes a hall of famer.
“The mascots, if you think about it, they’re with you through your childhood all the way to your adulthood they are always there,” said Gustin.
They bring the spirit everywhere they go, and your favorite mascot could be making an appearance at the hall of fame, soon.
“It gets really crazy,” said Gustin, “We pop confetti canons; we have music going – it’s a fun time!”
It’s 10 dollars for adults and children to visit. Children under the age of two and members are free.
Click here to visit the Mascot Hall of Fame website to learn more.