Seymore D. Fair

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Seymore D. Fair
1984 Louisiana World Exposition - Official Logo.png
First appearance June 1, 1983
Created by 1984 Louisiana World Exposition
Portrayed by Jeff David (1983-84)
Information
Aliases Seymour D' Fair
Species White Pelican
Gender Male
Family Critters
Nationality American
Home Critter Club House

Seymore D. Fair (a.k.a. Seymour D. Fair, and sometimes called Seymore de Faire or Seymour d'Fair) is a funny animal cartoon and costumed character who was the official mascot of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition. An anthropomorphic white pelican, Seymore typically wears a blue tuxedo jacket, large top hat, spats, and white gloves. His name is derived from the N'Awlins "Yat" phrase "See more of the fair". Seymore had the unique distinction and honor of being the "world's 1st-ever" character mascot in the history of World Expositions (circa 1851).[1]

From Los Angeles to New York to Paris and London, Seymore performed on the world stage promoting the New Orleans World's Fair. Back home in the Big Easy he and his best friend Pepe' la Gator,[2] entertained over 7,000,000+ visitors bringing smiles and laughter to all who experienced their magnanimous personalities.

Seymore had many notable moments during his reign including promotional tours throughout the US and even in Europe. Once while in France, he was escorted out of the Louvre for being too "spectacular". During the 1984 Republican National Convention, he made a big splash rubbing feathers on stage with the likes of George H. W. Bush, Vice-President of the United States[3][4] and interacted with numerous Chiefs of State.[5][6][7] Back in Washington DC, he hung out with Billy Joel at the White House entertaining wives of Russian Diplomats. Seymore even appeared on Saturday Night Live, shown guarding an entrance to the White House with Secret Service agents.

Name[edit]

For the first 10 months of his existence he was referred to as Mr. Pelican. It wasn't until fair management teamed up with a local convenience store chain that a naming effort was undertaken. So began the "contest", which resulted in over 18,000 name submissions.Judges included local famous folks like Angus Lind and Bob Marshall of the States Item to name a few. These judges pored over 6.5 pounds of paper print-outs that included names such as Crazy-Laid-Back Fred, Puddin Pus, and Valdimir. It took over 6 hours for the judges to review all the entries. In the end, it was Seymore D. Fair that ruled the day.

As it pertains to New Orleans, Seymore's name,[8][9] is a derivative of the local Yat dialect referred to as 'yat'. Famous 'yatisums' can be heard throughout the region, from the infamous New Orleans 'hello' greeting of 'Where Y'at', to cheering for the sports teams chanting 'Who Dat?'. Hence, the yat translation of 'See More of the Fair' is 'Seymore D' Fair'...!

Character actors[edit]

Seymore D. Fair, first ever World Expo Mascot.

Several actors were hired to perform as Seymore during the fair. The original actor was none other than Jeff Davis, a Southern Mississippi alumnus who also wore their school mascot for four years prior to his graduation. In 1983, Jeff traveled the world as Seymore promoting the fair and continued through the fair's closing in November 1984.

Advocacy and education[edit]

In addition to his job at the New Orleans World's Fair,[10] Seymore engaged in numerous educational, civic, and community causes, most notably Substance Free Lifestyles, Animal Welfare, and Positive Behavior programs. In 1986 he and his Critter friends performed with First Lady Nancy Reagan in the national "Just Say No" Rally held in the Louisiana Superdome.

Inspired by the First Lady's anti-drug campaign, Seymore & the Critters joined forces with local law enforcement agencies in 1986 to produce a drug education program titled "Critters & Kids Just Say NO to Drugs".[11] The two-part program consisted of a 45-minute live theater presentation and a post program classroom teaching unit. Approximately 100 public, private, and parochial schools from the metro New Orleans area participated with 40,000 K-6 students attended the live theater presentation. At that time, Harry Lee Jefferson Parish Sheriff proclaimed that the Critters & Kids Just Say No program was the largest singular drug education effort in Louisiana history.

Honors & awards[edit]

At the close of the fair in November 1984,[12] Seymore was enshrined alongside Dorothy's ruby slippers in the Smithsonian Institution.[13] He was also inducted into the New Orleans Historic Collection and the Louisiana State Archives where he is prominently displayed. Last but not least, Seymore and his friends known as the "Critters" were appointed "Ambassadors of Goodwill" for the State of Louisiana by then Governor Edwin E. Edwards. Not to be overshadowed, New Orleans Mayor Ernest "Dutch" Morial issued a proclamation in 1986 proclaiming January 24 as "Seymore D' Fair" day.

The Seymore D' Fair Foundation[edit]

To foster and support Seymore's community programs, the Seymore D' Fair Foundation was established in 2015. The foundation is a registered 501(3)c organization that supports the advancement of children's education efforts throughout the world.

A national nonprofit advocacy organization for ,children the Seymore D’ Fair Foundation is dedicated to promoting the empowerment of people, welfare of animals, and protection of the planet. The foundation focuses its support on committed grass roots educational efforts and organizations that rely on programs and volunteer efforts where foundation support will make a significant difference.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Expo Museum
  2. ^ "Seymore finds a friend", Tour de Fair, March 13, 1984 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  3. ^ "Seymore D. Fair Invades the GOP Convention", Wisconsin State Journal, August 22, 1984 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  4. ^ "Vice President Bush and Seymore Celebrate the Fair", States Item, Times Picayune, September 6, 1984 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  5. ^ "Seymore makes NY Mayor Koch Jealous", States Item, Time Picayune, July 1, 1984 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  6. ^ "Birds of a Feather. New York City Mayor Koch and Seymore", States Item, Time Picayune, April 4, 1984 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  7. ^ "Seymore and Atlanta Mayor Young", States Item, Times Picayune, August 24, 1984 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  8. ^ "Fair's mascot carries message in new name: Seymore D. Fair", States Item, Times Picayune, October 25, 1983 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  9. ^ "Fair's mascot gets a name", South Carolina Aiken Standard, October 26, 1983 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  10. ^ "A Fair Mascot", Syracuse Herald, May 26, 1984 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  11. ^ "Critters and Kids Say No to Drugs", States Items, Times Picayune, April 21, 1987 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  12. ^ "Seymore and the Fair's Final Celebration", States Item, Times Picayune, November 11, 1984 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 
  13. ^ "Seymore enshrined in Smithsonian Institution", States Item, Times Picayune, November 11, 1984 – via newslibrary@newsbank.com 

External links[edit]