Buddy the Bison will have to wait just a little longer before making his official debut.
The Wichita Park and Recreation Department had planned to unveil its new mascot at an Arbor Day celebration Friday morning, department director Troy Houtman said, but rain and cold weather prompted the event’s cancellation.
Buddy is expected to debut by at least May 16, at a parade downtown to support local law enforcement officers.
Houtman said the department had seen other park departments across the country have success with mascots, so Wichita decided to try it.
“We plan on him being around for about 10 years at least,” Houtman said. “He’s going to be basically our poster person for a lot of our initiatives and a lot of things we want to accomplish.”
Officials with the department decided on the bison because of its status as the Kansas state animal, he said.
In addition to in-person appearances, Buddy will be featured on print materials promoting healthy diets and exercise, Houtman said.
Fortunately for the department, he said, an intern with mascot experience at Emporia State University is willing to step into the Buddy suit.
“It’s a lot of fun being a mascot, too, I’ll tell you,” Houtman said.