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January 27. 2013 10:06PM

Furry friends head to Pats Peak in a battle of the brands


L'il Iguana poses with Samantha Stanz, left, Chris MacPherson and his sister Anna at Pats Peak's Mascot Day on Sunday. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER PHOTO)

HENNIKER - Of the approximately 2,000 people who hit the slopes at Pats Peak on Sunday, the warmest visitors by far were the 20 mascots from around New England who turned out to celebrate the ski area's 7th Annual Mascot Day.

According to Lori Rowell, director of marketing for Pats Peak Ski Area, Mascot Day is just a way to celebrate little kids by introducing them to some of their favorite characters between ski and snowboard runs.

"The kids just love the mascots," said Rowell.

The mascots come from all over New England and represent businesses, organizations, even sports teams. Fungo from the Fisher Cats, along with Max and Crash from the Manchester Monarchs were on hand, as well as Milo from the New Hampshire Speedway and Ribby from the Keene Swamp Bats. Disney characters including Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, Nemo and Buzz Light Year made the rounds, shaking hands with kids and parents, while SpongeBob SquarePants, Bob the Builder grabbed hugs and Elmo and the Cookie Monster just made everyone smile.

"My favorite is Fungo," said Anna MacPherson of Hooksett. "But I like them all because I like animals."

Organizations that work with kids to keep them safe also had their mascots at Pats Peak, including Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, the Dare Lion, Sparky the Fire Dog and L'il Iguana.

"Lil' Iguana helps to save children from abduction, exploitation and serious accidents," said spokesman James Tomaszewski of Lil' Iguana's Children's Safety Foundation. "Lil' Iguana just likes to be where children can see him so that he can reach them with important messages about safety. Mascot Day is a perfect opportunity for that."

Rowell said the event is also a great way for companies to draw some attention from the skiers, and Stonyfield Yogurt, Oakhurst Dairy, Chucky E. Cheese's, and the Mount Washington Cruises all sent mascots. Even Pats Peak had their two mascots, Boris the Bear and Snowball the Snow Tiger.

"Snowball is my favorite," said Samantha Stanz of Nashua. "But I also like the racer one."

All of the mascots took part in a fashion show and dance off on Sunday afternoon, wearing their best outfits. And at least one of the mascots actually hit the slopes during the day.

"Max from the Monarchs skis," said Rowell. "But for some of them, I could see how that could be a bit difficult."

And though it was a balmy 20 degrees at Pats Peak on Sunday, the mascots weren't complaining about the cold, and in fact, Lil' Iguana said winter was the perfect time to be in costume.

"I'll talk this over August any time," the iguana said.

nfoster@newstote.com


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