It may not be widespread fur-mongering, but Faribault County Fair’s new mascot caught the attention of one local resident.
Brenda Baldwin of Blue Earth told fair board members at their meeting Monday night, June 13, that her social media post about Felix the Fair Fox was out of concern.
“I just didn’t want the fair board being accused of being a Furry supporter,” says Baldwin.
The so-called Furry Fandom has its roots in the early 1980’s. It was started by people interested in animal characters with human characteristics like an ability to talk or walk on their hind legs.
Baldwin’s post, which was quickly removed, was in response to a contest promoted on the fair’s website to pick a name for the furry mascot.
Baldwin apologized to the board, saying her intention was not to paint them in a bad light.
“I don’t think the fox is wrong, the mascot is wrong. I just think maybe the timing of this particular animal at this particular time is not in the fair’s best interest,” she says.
Across the country, school district administrators have debunked rumors of students being allowed to dress up as animals or that litter boxes are placed in bathrooms for children who identify as animals.
Baldwin says she’s heard there are three families in Faribault County with elementary school children who are furries.
Fair board member Daryl Murray of Blue Earth says his grandson told him there’s a girl in one of his classes who meows like a cat when asked a question and has a bowl of water placed in the hallway for her.
Baldwin agreed with Murray, adding there’s a child who identifies as a cat, another as a rabbit and the third child she didn’t know what animal they identified with.
In response to the claims, Blue Earth Area superintendent Mandy Fletcher says, “I don’t know where people pick this stuff up.”
“While I didn’t attend this meeting myself, and as such didn’t hear the comments firsthand, I can certainly confirm that any claims or statements made in regard to BEA students identifying as animals are untrue,” she adds.
Baldwin says Alden School district has dealt with a furry issue. She says some parents attended a school board because of a teacher who dresses up like a cat and has a water bowl in her classroom.
But, board chairman Chad Schmidt says there is no truth to what Baldwin told the board.
Fair board member Robin Stenzel, who is in charge of maintaining their website, says she was not aware of any negative comments or reactions to the new mascot due to Baldwin’s post.