YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It was a packed house at the McKelvey Gallery in downtown Youngstown on Thursday night.
The event featured artwork from four resident cartoonists of the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood. Besides the cartoon work, there was a special presentation to unveil a new mascot for the group’s Mill Creek maple syrup: A raccoon named Tapper.
“It really was just two meetings. One to talk about what are the aspects of the mascot. One of the artists, Chris Yambar, drew the mascot and we came together and made some small edits,” Rocky Ridge Neighbors President John Slanina said.
Yambar said a lot of discussion came from the drawings.
“He is wearing a crown because he is a little king. They were like ‘I don’t know, maybe he should have..’ I said ‘Put him in a little dress shirt in case he has to lecture somewhere’,” Yambar said.
So, why a raccoon?
“Anytime you’re designing a logo or logo character, you want to see what is appropriate, what is it being used for. Well, it is maple syrup, kids love the park, kids love maple syrup, kids like raccoons that don’t have rabies,” Yambar said.
Yambar said one word comes to mind when folks gave him feedback on the animal.
“He is cute. That is number one. He is cute. He is in the hugging position. He is ready to go,” Yambar said.
Mill Creek maple syrup can be purchased starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Fellows Riverside Garden. Slanina is expecting it to go fast, so there is a limit of two bottles per customer.