Professional mascots and furries – Q&A with Uncle Kage and Kodi of Midwest Furfest.
by Patch O'Furr
The National Mascot Hall of Fame is coming in 2017. This mainstream event might deserve furry attention. It’s a series here:
Could a full time mascot-based tourist attraction include furries somehow? Maybe they will indirectly benefit. Imagine an exhibit dedicated to hobbyist costuming, and how it’s an institution in places like Pittsburgh. If that happened, Uncle Kage would surely be one of the first asked to help connect furries and pro mascots. And it’s interesting that the NMHOF is close to Midwest Furfest (imagine an exhibit coordinated with the con.)
I contacted Kage and MFF about this. Here’s followup to the stories above.
Mascot Boot Camp is run by NMHOF founder Dave Raymond (the original “Philly Phanatic”). It’s in Kutztown PA- 3 days for $399. Fursuiters, check that out. And you can hire it to come to you (wouldn’t it be amazing to have such a workshop hosted by a con? Although cost per person would be huge.) Check Dave Raymond’s group of companies for a look at professional mascot building and more – Raymond Entertainment Group.
Furry sports fans on national TV – have you seen this going around as a popular meme? (Tip: Chakat Shorttail.)
Here’s the story from 2014: Dallas Stars Fans Dress Up as Furries, Taunt Bruce Boudreau With Taco Sign. Hockey fans loved it on Reddit’s r/hockey. And here’s some reaction from Reddit’s r/furry. Find Vermy Fox and Dario Mouse on FurAffinity.
Uncle Kage answers a few questions about The Mascot Hall of Fame.
(Patch:) Do you think there will be any outreach to furries, directly or subtly?
(Kage:) I have no way of knowing. It would be nice if someone out there recognized that there is a fandom built up around anthropomorphic animals, and that mascotting is a perfect example of the genre.
(Patch:) The San Diego Chicken made a fantastic Guest Of Honor at Anthrocon, can we look forward to more?
(Kage:) It’d be lovely if he would return to join us. Perhaps in 2017, when we are planning a baseball theme.
(Patch:) Is this part of mainstreaming furries, with stuff like Disney’s Zootopia?
(Kage:) Furries are already mainstream. The rest of the world just hasn’t caught on yet.
Q&A with Kodi, MFF media contact and Director of Programming & Marketing.
(Patch:) Have you guys heard of the National Mascot Hall of Fame opening nearby in the Chicago area? Would you have anything to do with it?
(Kodi:) I was aware of the hall of fame opening, though we didn’t have anything to do with it – such a small percentage of our attendees perform in costume (it’s a large number, but not normally more than 25% of con attendees)
(Patch:) Do you think it will bring interest in what furries do, or even involve them?
(Kodi:) I think it could certainly interest some of our attendees, though I don’t expect they would ever formally involve us – their hall of fame seems to be more tailored to sports mascots, not amateurs.
(Patch:) Anthrocon’s GOH was the San Diego Chicken who is credited as making sports mascots popular. Has MFF had anyone similar, or will you?
(Kodi:) We were thrilled to see that Anthrocon was recognizing the San Diego chicken! I think he’s a stellar example of true professionalism! Midwest Furfest prides itself on first and foremost, recognizing the achievements and leadership within our community directly – I would never say never, but at least right now, our focus is more directed at recognizing achievement within the fandom
(Patch:) Would you agree crossover of furry and mainstream stuff seems to be growing? Have any other comment about that?
(Kodi:) I think there are certainly parts of the mainstream world that seem to recognize the fandom, and a lot of the hard work our performers, artists and businesses do (perhaps more now, than in previous years). However, I also think that’s a consequence of the growth of the fandom as a whole – we are becoming a larger entity, which invites more opportunity for ‘cross over’. Ultimately, Midwest Furfest’s goal is to continue providing education, fun and a really great event for our attendees. We aren’t directly focused on our growth, nor do we really spend a lot of time looking at how other fandoms or other parts of the community may choose to portray us. We truly believe that we have an exceptional group of staff and attendees that’s helped make our events a lot of fun, and we couldn’t be more appreciative!
Tomorrow: Cornbread Wolf talks about his hobby of fursuiting at sports games.