Uptown Partnership (UP) is undertaking a new contest to adopt the first-ever mascot for Uptown Martinsville. The contest, which will help promote tourism and garner community engagement, will run through Sept. 7.
The impetus for the mascot contest came about during discussions of a promotions committee, which found it was something the community could have some input on, rally around, and get excited about, said Brandon Martin, vice president.
“The idea is for it to help with different promotional efforts, so just making appearances uptown, taking pictures with kids, and that sort of thing,” he said.
Martin said the mascot could also potentially be featured on Uptown Martinsville merchandise.
“In the future, we’d like to align some of this vision with what the city is planning, so that’s still going to be determined for the most part,” he said.
The current plan is to have a volunteer inside the costume. The only cost UP will have thus far is the price of the costume.
Cristina Slate, president of UP, said the mascot contest is a fun way to engage with city residents and promote Martinsville’s Main Street District.
“The mascot will be a staple of Uptown, attending events and interacting with children and tourists. We want a mascot that will create a positive image for our community and serve as an ambassador for Uptown,” she said.
The contest will have two phases, with the first being the concept phase.
“Phase one is to decide the what. Like what do you actually want it to be, whether that be a bee whether that be a tree, whatever the community decides we’re letting them dictate that and submit different ideas,” Martin said.
The UP promotions committee will then look at the ideas and determine what it thinks will be the best option for the mascot, he said.
“From there, we’ll put that idea back out to the artists when we do the call for them to submit their own design. Then that’s where phase two will start” with people voting for their favorite, he said.
UP plans to give a $100-$200 prize for the winning submission.
The organization has received a lot of excitement and several mascot ideas, he said.
“Somebody submitted a groundhog, someone suggested we do a rooster to go along with the Rooster Walk theme, a lot of people have been excited about the bee concept, someone said a train in honor of the Dick & Willie Trail, a little bit of everything,” he said of the entries thus far.
UP Executive Director Spencer Koger said the group is excited to see what ideas the community comes up with.
“The last community engagement project we did was the Wall Street Alleyway, where residents got to vote on the design. That project was well-received by the community and I’m confident this contest will garner a similar amount of excitement for Uptown,” he said.
To vote on social media, go to Facebook.com/UptownPartnership, or www.surveymonkey.com/r/uptownmascot.