Main Street, USA
Beginning July 18, 2005 - Ending ???
As we travel around this great land of ours we
have noticed something that seems to be a new trend. Different cities that we
have passed through have chosen a particular animal or creature to be the city
mascot. The city will choose a particular creature and then you will see a
representation of this creature in various mediums and decoration throughout the
city. The first couple of cities we saw we didn't make any mention because we
thought it was a sight peculiar to that area. But lo and behold! we have started
seeing them all over the country. Guess a good thing just takes off. What we did
find out that most of these projects were created as money makers for the city
as well as, in many cases, a focal point for a particular cause. We had just
left Cincinnati Ohio and were in Erie Pennsylvania when the idea hit us to start
a webpage on City Mascots (for want of a better expression). In a small town
just outside of Cincinnati called Glendale they had a giant squirrel as their
mascot. Unfortunately we hadn't decided to start taking pictures of these
creatures yet so a description will have to suffice. One squirrel we saw which
was about 4 ft high was in front of an optometrist's office. He was wearing
large glasses, so he could see the world better. Then we saw another squirrel in
front of a Dr's office that was wearing a Dr's coat with a stethoscope in his
pocket. The statue itself appeared to be bronze. I'm sure there were many more
but those were the most memorable.
On to Erie, PA, where our idea of doing the mascots actually blossomed. We
passed a place near Lake Erie's waterfront called the Erie Intermodal
Transportation Center. Out in front they had a male and female frog. Sally Brate
was charming. She was in a sitting position with large eyelashes, lace cuffs,
and a decoupage effect of various newspapers for her jacket. Sally was created
to honor Volunteers! Celebrating Voluntarism Since 1925," done by Carolyn Parker Patton, Darcy Patton Matson, Darby Patton
Scalise. Not far from her
was "FROGZILLA". A 7 ft. tall frog standing on his back legs, with
ferocious looking teeth. He was holding a railroad car in his left hand,
standing on a railroad track, while airplanes circled his head. Erie is one of
the few towns we have seen so far that featured more than one version of
"the mascot". "Frogzilla" was done by Scott Rispin. Sponsored by Erie Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority, and Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Erie's "Leapfrog project", which they called the five promises,
started on June 8, 2004. Erie, Pa., is leaping into summer with Leapfrog!, We
learned that it was a Lake Erie art project that exhibits 100 fiberglass frog statues decorated by area artists throughout the city. One special frog, who resides in front of the Erie City School District Administration Building at West 21st and Sassafras streets, was decorated by a group of students and teachers to represent the Five Promises and the community’s unique efforts on behalf of Erie’s children and youth.
The Leapfrog! project and Erie’s Promise brought together 10 students, a local artist, six art teachers and caring adult Ruth Burton, an Erie citizen who provided the $3,000 project fee and donated the frog to Erie’s Promise. Proceeds from the project benefit the Gannon University Scholarship Fund and the Erie Art Museum. The frog design, sculpted by Erie artist David Seitzinger, is an homage to the Erie region’s seven species of frogs. Each frog, standing about seven feet tall, was a blank slate for individual artists or teams to decorate as they wished.
The Erie’s Promise team divided the frog into four sections, each assigned to one of four area high schools to create an education-themed
amphibian—complete with a mortarboard. To represent the Promise effort, the frog is pulling a red wagon with five young frogs inside, symbolizing the Five Promises.
After working tirelessly for nearly a month, the artists unveiled the Erie’s Promise frog to high praise on May 27. “I felt great because we did the work as a team and completed it on time,” says Diveth Vasquez, a sophomore at Strong Vincent High School, one of the frog’s artists. “It just feels great to know that the school district loved our work.”
In addition to providing a valuable lesson in teamwork and creativity, the Leapfrog! project no doubt will bring greater attention to Erie’s Promise—after all, there’s no missing a seven-foot frog, which will be on display through September. After that, frogs can be retained by their sponsors, or donated to the Leapfrog! auction to be held this fall.
They have a website featuring this project called: http://www.leapfrogerie.com.
Obviously a number of the frogs made it past the September date, since we were
viewing these in July of 2005. Erie is the first city we have seen feature more
than one form of the statue. In this case they had a large standing frog and a
As we toured the Maritime Museum our guide mentioned that previous to the frogs
Erie had fish as their theme and that some of them were still to be seen around
town. So after our visit to the Museum was finished we went off in search of
Fish (statues that is). We had not gone far when we saw Sherlock Fish in front
of a small restaurant. Very handsome and intellectual fellow. Sure wouldn't
want to be there if he decided to light up that huge pipe.
I am sure as we travel we will be adding more and more
of these charming Mascots so be sure and check back periodically.
Good Luck! Have Fun! and Stay Safe!