They're Back in Their Nest

Oct. 28, 2004

The Herkys are back in the nest.

The 90 6-foot tall statues of Herky, the official mascot of the University of Iowa, decorated by local and not-so-local artists on on public display since May, were removed from their perches today by a handful of volunteers and members of the committee that has organized the project that was staged to support the celebration of the 75th anniversary of historic Kinnick Stadium.

“Herky on Ice: A Frozen Farewell” is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 13, on the ice rink at Coral Ridge Mall.

“Regrettably, it became increasingly obvious that vandalism had been gaining momentum. That fact, paired with the promise of a dry and relatively warm Halloween weekend, prompted our decision to remove the statues and begin preparations for our final two scheduled events involving the artwork,” said Rick Klatt, associate athletic director for external affairs and a member of the organizing committee.

Klatt said the committee has always worked off two different removal plans. One had removal pencilled in for early November and was driven primarily by the weather. The second was, of course, the preferred – removal on Nov. 21, the day after the 2004 college football season at the University of Iowa came to a close.

“On the one hand, the decision was a difficult one. We know there are fans of the Hawkeyes who were planning to enjoy the Parade before and after the football team’s games on Nov. 6 and 20, and now, unfortunately, they won’t have that opportunity,” Klatt said. “On the other hand, the senseless vandalism that started a few weeks ago just reminded us of the fact that we were really tempting fate and that there was simply too much at risk.”

Klatt said the committee has plans to hire a handful of local artists whose goal will be to do as good a job as possible of bringing the artwork back to its original state by early December. The Parade will make an encore performance on Monday, Dec. 13, at the Coral Ridge Mall at an event called, “Herky on Ice: A Frozen Farewell.” Plans call for 89 of the 90 Herkys that were involved in the Parade to be on display on the ice rink at the shopping center.

Three days later, approximately 40 of the Herkys will be available for purchase at the “Herky on Parade Tailgate Party and Auction.” That event will be staged at the University of Iowa Memorial Union on the evening of Dec. 16 and is open to the public. Proceeds from the auction will benefit local charities.

“It’s been a great activity that has far exceeded our expectations thanks to, first and foremost, the artists who provided us with simply fantastic art and then a very, very long list of sponsors, friends, volunteers and others, most notably the leadership and staff of our three communities, the University and the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau,” said Klatt.

By the way — for those who were wondering — the Herkys “nest” is the storeroom of the Iowa Children’s Museum at the Coral Ridge Mall — another of the many friends of the Herky on Parade program.