Naperville Ribfest's new piggy mascot 'Needs a Name'

  • The new Naperville Ribfest mascot, so far called "Piggy Needs a Name," will get a permanent moniker in a contest the Exchange Club is hosting among Naperville-area students. The mascot will be named in time for the 30th annual festival to kick off June 30.

    The new Naperville Ribfest mascot, so far called "Piggy Needs a Name," will get a permanent moniker in a contest the Exchange Club is hosting among Naperville-area students. The mascot will be named in time for the 30th annual festival to kick off June 30. Courtesy of Exchange Club of Naperville

 
 
Updated 5/2/2017 5:12 PM

"Piggy Needs a Name," and kids get to come up with it.

The committee planning the 30th annual Ribfest in Naperville has designed a new mascot and is asking for local schoolchildren's help in selecting that perfect moniker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We thought that would be about the right level of creativity that we're looking for," Exchange Club of Naperville spokeswoman Erin O'Donnell said about the elementary and middle school-aged kids who are expected to enter. "Kids are so imaginative -- why not tap into that?"

Classes of students from Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204 can submit prospective pig names until 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 23. Children who are home-schooled or attend schools outside of those districts can enter as well by emailing Pamela Keith at ribfestmascot2017@yahoo.com.

Ribfest is all about kids anyway, O'Donnell says, as it aims to prevent child abuse by raising money to donate to charities that advance the cause. So it seemed fitting to let little ones name the new pig mascot, which was designed as a twist to the traditional Fourth of July weekend fest.

The Exchange Club will announce the mascot moniker chosen to replace "Piggy Needs a Name" in late May as members and volunteers prepare for the four-day festival June 30 to July 3 at Knoch Park near downtown.

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If the winner is a class of students, the group will receive 30 free tickets good for entry July 1, 2 or 3. If the winner is an individual student, he or she will get two free tickets, also for July 1, 2 or 3. Kids younger than 11 are admitted free those days and can bring an adult guest with them.

Ribfest committee members came up with the mascot idea in February, then got to sketching the smiling, pink piglet with a pear-shaped body clad in blue overalls, a blue Ribfest cap and shiny black sunglasses. O'Donnell said the club sent the sketch to a uniform designer and had a life-size pig suit made so two "mascoteers" can be hired to play the piggy during this year's event.

"We just thought it'd be fun and something new," O'Donnell said.

The Exchange Club is accepting 30-second video clips from prospective mascoteers who are "athletic and energetic," "fun and bubbly" and who are free to work each day of the festival. Audition video clips should be emailed as soon as possible to Pamela Keith at mary@ribfest.net, O'Donnell said.

The mascot will be one new attraction at this year's Ribfest, which also will include traveling rib vendors, business booths and headlining musical performances by Toby Keith, the B-52s, Shinedown and the Wallflowers.

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