Have you ever seen a hodag?
Probably not. The hodag is the mascot of a town I live near in Wisconsin. According to Wikipedia, and I quote: "The Hodag is a folkloric animal of the American state of Wisconsin. Its history is focused mainly around the city of Rhinelander in northern Wisconsin, where it was said to have been discovered." A folkloric animal can be fun.
And the fun started in 1893 when prankster Eugene Shepard announced the discovery and killing of the last hodag. And here's the photo to prove it!
Shepard wrote that: "It was "the fiercest, strangest, most frightening monster ever to set razor sharp claws on the earth. It became extinct after its main food source, all white bulldogs, became scarce in the area." Well, the white bulldogs probably gave a sigh of relief!!
Anyway, the folks in Rhinelander have fun with their mascot or symbol, keeping the fun spirit of Shepard alive. Here's the statue of the hodag in front of the tourist center in Rhinelander.
Rhinelander sits just to the south of the northwoods or Lakeland area where I live. Within a 50 mile radius of my home are 2300 lakes. If you fly over this area, you see more water than land. That explains part of the area's allure. Most of Chicago and Milwaukee head north to escape the heat and humidity of summer. My latest Love Inspired romance is set in a fictitious town near Rhinelander and the hodag makes its romantic debut in Building a Family.
Do you have a mascot or symbol for your hometown? What is it?