Kids, parents, locals and visitors partied like animals at the Kilbourn Public Library on August 3 at an annual Meet the Mascots event where Bucky, the University of Wisconsin mascot, and 20 other university mascots danced and mingled the day away.
The party kicked off at 1 p.m. with Michael Showalter — a DJ and former Bucky mascot from 1988-1989 – introducing the 21 mascots one-by-one and then turning the library into a disco dance party outside on the patio.
The dance party kicked off with Jump Around by House of Pain with all the mascots jumping and dancing around the patio-turned-dance-floor with most of the kids dancing the afternoon away with the mascots while the parents, grandparents, university athletes, and other adults watched on the sidelines.
“The mascots job is to interact with the kids,” Showalter said, “The goal is to show emotion and convey to an audience what they are thinking and feeling without talking. They’re not allowed to talk because it breaks the magic.”
Talking wasn’t necessary as the kids and mascots went into a friendly but fierce dance competition to Watch Me by Silento, doing the whip, nae nae and stanky leg with the kids being declared the champions.
Mascots and kids then took off their game faces and danced together to YMCA, the Hokey-Pokey, the Chicken Dance, the Cha Cha Slide and other dances, and at one point, even started a Congo line.
Kelly Gallagher, a soon-to-be stepmother to her fiancé’s three kids, Leslie Jahsman,9, and twins, Carrie and Todd Jahsman, 5, took the kids out to meet the mascots and to have a fun-filled day.
“I’ve been looking for different fun, free things to do,” Gallagher said. “They live in South Dakota with their mom during the school year, and come to visit during the summer, and we want to give them fun Wisconsin experiences.”
And meeting Bucky, the UW-Madison mascot is definitely an authentic Wisconsin experience.
“They have seen pictures of Bucky before,” Gallagher said. ‘They’re excited to meet him.”
In addition to Bucky, the other mascots in attendance were: Aubie the Tiger from Auburn University, Hink the Bulldog from Butler University, Sparky the Eagle from Liberty University, Baby Jay and Big Jay from the University of Kansas, Brutus the Buckeye from Ohio State University, Goldy the Gopher from the University of Minnesota, Reggie Redbird from Illinois State University, Chip the Buffalo from The University of Colorado at Boulder, Purdue Pete from Purdue University, Thundar the Bison from North Dakota State University, Lu the Wolf from Loyola University, Harry the Husky from Washington University, Nittany Lion from Pennsylvania State University, Herky the Hawk form the University of Iowa, Big Red, Sue E, Pork Chop and Boss Hog from the University of Arkansas, Pete the Peacock from the University of Upper Iowa and Bucky from the University of Wisconsin.
After the other 20 university mascots were introduced and made their grand entrances, Bucky was welcomed to thunderous clapping, cheering and screaming, as the kids — many wearing Bucky and UW t-shirts – immediately surrounded him like flies on honey.
Once everyone calmed down, and took off their dancing shoes, all the mascots were available for photos before heading back into their kennels, cages and aviaries and heading back to their respective universities.
And it certainly was a memorable, fun-filled day for some of the kids.
“I enjoyed seeing all the mascots and it was fun. Seeing Bucky was really cool,” Leslie said.
“I enjoyed all of the mascots and the dancing. I loved seeing Bucky, too,” Carrie said.
“I enjoyed dancing with the mascots and meeting Bucky,” Todd said.