Nov. 7, 2003
Imagine this: You round the corner and there he is.
Six feet tall from feather to feather … with fist raised with pride for his favorite sports team, the Iowa Hawkeyes.
But, wait, something’s different!
He’s not black and gold.
He’s red. He’s blue. And he has a large “S” on his chest.
Why…it’s Superman Herky!
And so it will be in late April 2004 when Herky on Parade takes the Hawkeye spirit to the streets of the greater Iowa City/Coralville/University Heights/University of Iowa community.
Patterned after Chicago’s very successful Cows on Parade and Cedar Rapids’ American Gothic/Overalls All Over programs, Herky on Parade will take the excitement of the 75th anniversary of the University of Iowa’s historic Kinnick Stadium – and the planned renovation of the State of Iowa’s largest entertainment venue – to a grassroots level.
“We are very excited about the Herky on Parade event and confident that it will attract thousands of visitors to our community next spring, summer and fall.”
Josh Shamberger, executive director, Iowa City/Coralville Convention & Visitors Bureau
And, if history is any guide, Herky on Parade will significantly impact tourism and the local economy in the greater Iowa City/Coralville/University Heights/University of Iowa community during the spring, summer and fall months of 2004.
Parade organizers unveiled their plan Friday at a special event staged at the Sheraton Iowa City. Officials indicated they expect to have at least 50 professionally – and not so much so – decorated Herky’s scattered throughout the greater Iowa City/Coralville community.
The statues will be on display from approximately late April 2004 to late October 2004. Those that aren’t purchased outright by sponsors prior to the exhibition will be made available for purchase at an auction to be scheduled in late November 2004.
“We are very excited about the Herky on Parade event and confident that it will attract thousands of visitors to our community next spring, summer and fall,” said Josh Schamberger, executive director of the Iowa City/Coralville Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“I was personally involved in the planning of the City of Cedar Rapids’ very successful Overalls All Over program and know that Herky will be a tremendous draw,” he added.
First indications are that Herky will indeed be a tremendous draw. Parade officials indicated that more than 15 local business leaders have already verbally committed to sponsoring more than 20 Herky statues.
Imagine the possibilities…
Elvis Herky… Sammy Sosa Herky… Plumber Herky… The Matrix Herky… even Barney Herky!
“This is going to be a really fun project. Putting Herky on parade will certainly attract a lot of attention to our community and, in turn, bring visitors to our community. I congratulate our city staff and all involved in the planning and execution,” said Ernie Lehman, mayor of Iowa City.
“The City of Coralville is elated to be a part of Herky on Parade. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to continue our strong working relationship with the University and Iowa City, and providing the many visitors to our community a first-hand look at what a wonderful community it is,” said Jim Fausett, mayor of Coralville.
UI Director of Athletics, Bob Bowlsby, said the project has great potential to accomplish all of its objectives including the raising of awareness of the renovation of historic Kinnick Stadium.
“We were seeking ways to build awareness of the project among the masses. Herky on Parade stands an excellent chance of accomplishing that objective for us…and being very entertaining and fun at the same time,” said Bowlsby.
Herky on Parade has four primary objectives, two of which are to raise awareness of the 75th anniversary of historic Kinnick Stadium and to build grassroots awareness for the coming renovation of the State of Iowa’s largest entertainment venue.
Parade organizers indicated two key partnerships are coming together fast but are yet to be finalized.
“We’ve been successful in getting our city leaders to become engaged in the project. Now we need local decision-makers and business leaders to accept a leadership role, and we need local artists to step forward with their unique creativity. When that happens – and it will – Herky on Parade will be a huge success,” said Schamberger.
Parade officials displayed three mini-Herky’s – Elvis Herky, Statue of Liberty Herky and Phantom Herky — done by artist Sara Brown of Iowa City at Friday’s event as examples of what visitors will see next spring.
Organizers indicated the final, life-size version of Elvis Herky will arrive in Iowa City in December. Elvis Herky will likely make his first public appearance at to-be-determined athletic events in Carver-Hawkeye Arena before moving to his winter home – the new UI Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I have no doubt that Herky on Parade is going to be fun, successful and entertaining. It’s really just a matter of how much and that’s really a function of our community leaders,” said Schamberger.
For more information about Herky on Parade including information about how to sponsor a Herky, call Rick Klatt at (319) 335-9431