A crew of dancing mascots that include a unicorn named Sprinkles and a hippo named Henrietta are popping up across the city in an attempt to bring joy to Calgarians during the pandemic.
They’re called the Misfitz, and you might come across them in a Costco or near a care home.
“I think we need this during these times of uncertainty,” said Joey Clark, the leader of the group.
“So definitely, you’ve got to see a unicorn. You’ve got to see a hippo. Definitely need to have one of those around.”
‘Time to be a kind of superhero’
The Misfitz were inspired by one little girl whose mom was trying to cheer her up, Clark said.
“Her mom … needed to bring this smile back into her kid’s world. She wasn’t able to go to school, and the kid couldn’t understand basically why she couldn’t go to school, because it’s COVID,” Clark told The Homestretch.
“I felt like it was time to be a kind of superhero and to help her out. So what I decided to do was call on some people on my Facebook page and to see if they would actually help me out. And you’ll be surprised how many true Canadians are out there.”
Clark put out the call for about two weeks, she said, and was overwhelmed with the response from people willing to put on a full-size costume, from the Grinch to Olaf from Disney’s Frozen.
“We surprised this little girl with a parade. I’m not kidding you. So we had costumes. We had 20 individuals in separate cars doing protocol, honking their horns and throwing gifts out their window just for this girl,” Clark said.
“And I was amazed by that and totally inspired by that. I’m thinking, you know what, if I’m a kid, that’s going to be no fun not having a birthday … going through all this and being stressed out. We’ve got to do something here.”
That’s when things got silly. Clark pulled out her go-to costume, Sprinkles the Unicorn.
“I enjoy sprinkles. She is a unicorn. A lot of girls tend to love sprinkles a whole lot,” Clark said.
And the rest?
“You got Biscuit the dog, you got Henrietta the hippo, Sprinkles, of course, Cleo the clown, Peggy the penguin, Olaf, the Grinch,” Clark said.
“But you know what? It’s not even just about who’s part of my group. It’s about other people volunteering.”
New volunteers welcome
Clark said the Misfitz most recently appeared at a senior’s home.
“We have done some gas stations and some other businesses, parks and streets. I can name a few, hospitals, senior’s homes, The Mustard Seed, Costco and Alpha House. We’ve been around,” she said.
And Clark said the group is always open to new volunteers, especially those who can bring a costume.
“The more the merrier,” she said. “I honestly believe that, you know, even the people who need a little bit cheering up could also be a Misfit, you need to come out and spread some cheer, listen to some songs and music.
“I mean, when we went to that senior’s home, those seniors loved us and they loved rocking with the oldies. So if you feel like you need to step out, you should come out and join us.”
For more information, you can find the Misfitz on Facebook.
With files from The Homestretch.