Reggy is happy. He finally has a home. Reggy, for those who may not know, is the mascot for Whiting’s newly-opened Mascot Hall of Fame, which celebrated its grand opening this weekend.
The grand opening was the culmination of years of planning, all finally coming together to create a one-of-a-kind, interactive experience for the whole family. The 25,000 square-foot facility features fun activities for all to enjoy, including a play area, hoops, snack shop, gift shop, signed sports mascot memorabilia, and more. The $18 million facility features three levels and even includes a banquet area, which is available to rent for special occasions.
“It’s amazing!” said Reggy, surrounded by hundreds of his closest friends who came to visit. “To finally have a home, to be here and see all of these things come together is just terrific! The ribbon cutting was a blast, and we’re excited for the future here.”
Whiting mayor Joe Stahura was proud to welcome visitors to the new attraction.
“We actually did a soft-open a few months ago,” Stahura said. “We wanted to have some time to get all the kinks worked out before we did the grand opening, and we wanted to do something in the warmer months so it would be more comfortable for people to come out and celebrate with us. That’s what today is, and it’s gonna be tremendous fun all day long.”
Stahura believes that the Mascot Hall of Fame will add value to residents of Whiting and northwest Indiana.
“I think we’ll see even more people come out to our business district here, stop at the stores here, visit our restaurants. We’ve seen a lot of that already, and we hope it will continue.”
The MHoF has, so far, welcomed more than 9,000 visitors since they initial opening on December 26th, 2018, and it’s predicted that they will top 10,000 this weekend.
Orestes Hernandez, executive director, agrees.
“The public reception has just been terrific. Our ribbon-cutting this morning was essentially a mascot dance and we couldn’t have been any happier about that. Once people come in here, walk through the doors and they look up and they see the giant inflatable mascot heads, they just get it.”
“We’re two things,” Hernandez said. “First, we are an interactive children’s museum where all the exhibits are embedded with STEAM-level education, combining science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. Second, we are the home of the Mascot Hall of Fame, featuring mascots from both professional and collegiate level from across North America.”
“When you zoom out, when you take a step back and look, we’re really here to benefit the community. This little 5,000 person town on the south shore of Lake Michigan benefits from a tremendous amount of tourism during the summer months. People come from all over to visit the fabulous Whihala Beach here. They visit the WhoaZone on the lake and they do all the other fun things here in town.”
“We’re here not just for the summer months, but year round, so people can come here, visit us even in the winter months for some fun,” Hernandez said.
Vinny Caturano was enjoying the grand opening with his wife, Melissa and their children, Noah and Vincent.
“We’ve been here at least ten times already. It’s really cool, a great place for the kids to come play. Adults can come here and have fun too,” Caturano said.
The opening reception also featured the unveiling of the museum’s official logo for the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees, which will be held later this summer during Father’s Day weekend at the MHoF.
When all the dust had settled and autographs signed, there was only one question that remained: who was going to clean up all the confetti?
“Yeah, I was hoping that would be a group effort,” said Reggy, looking around at the piles of glitter and confetti lining the floor.
For more information about the Mascot Hall of Fame, visit them online at mascothalloffame.com or just stop by and check it out for yourself!
The museum is located at 1851 Front St, Whiting, IN and their hours are as follows: