Frank E. Fling is what some people would call a real hot dog.
Mostly because he is.
The 6-foot-tall hunk of beef (and assorted byproducts) is the beloved mascot for the Naperville Jaycees Last Fling. And this year, he'll be attending the event.
"For the first year ever we actually brought our logo to life," Last Fling Executive Director Brad Taylor said.
He says that in past years organizers simply referred to the logo as the "hot dog guy" or "brat guy."
But last year, the group decided to sponsor a contest for fourth-graders in Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204 to name the annual end of summer festival's mascot.
The winner was Naper Elementary School student Madison Hubbard with the moniker Frank E. Fling.
"This is a huge honor," Madison's mother, Danica Hubbard, said. "We've been in Naperville since 1980, so to be part of the history is really exciting."
The event's new mascot made his first appearance over the Fourth of July weekend at Naperville's Ribfest. His first formal appearance will be at a ceremony during the Last Fling, accompanied by Madison and Naperville Mayor George Pradel.
At the end of the school year, Madison's parents, along with two members of the Naperville Jaycees, surprised Madison in front of her class.
"She was just kind of pink, sort of like a hot dog, sort of embarrassed and happy," Hubbard said. "It was a great moment."
The Jaycees let Madison keep a cardboard cutout of Frank E. Fling, which Hubbard says is "proudly displayed in her room."
Also included in Madison's Last Fling prize pack is a chance to walk in Naperville's Last Fling Labor Day Parade alongside her family and Mr. Frank E. Fling himself.
Madison, an aspiring writer, keeps numerous journals where her mother said she brainstormed names for the contest.
After more than 15 different choices and much deliberation, Frank E. Fling was chosen.
"I told her people might ask what the 'E' stands for," Hubbard said. "She just looked at me and said 'Mom, it stands for edible.'"
Edible or not, organizers hope visitors will come to see Frank E. Fling as an embodiment of the celebration.
"He's an excellent new addition to the Fling family," Taylor said.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.