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Messiah College "Falcons" — About Fandango
Fandango can be found most often entertaining fans at home men's and women's basketball games.

Competing as “The Falcons” for as long as intercollegiate athletics has been known to exist at Messiah College, Fandango made his first appearance in the 2005-2006 academic year, strutting its stuff for the first time at a home men’s basketball game that winter.

The current version of the Falcons’ mascot replaced an older, more dated rendition that year, while former Messiah director of athletics Jerry Chaplin wanted the new and improved bird to have a name.

“Never before did our mascot have a name here,” Chaplin said. “We purchased this new mascot, and we wanted it to be a little more personable. To do that, it helps to have an actual name.”

Chaplin and staff opened a contest to all students and employees in the fall of 2005, looking for a moniker fitting of the six-foot, seven-inch tall blue fowl. Nearly 150 individuals supplied over 400 entries for the contest, while Messiah’s Mascot Naming Committee narrowed down the search to six finalists.

“We polled a group of our athletics staff and a group of students, and came up with the final six entries,” said Chaplin, who chaired the MNC. “It was then up to all of our student body and college employees to vote on the best.”

Fandango was eventually selected, as a banner unveiled the name at halftime of the aforementioned basketball game in ’05.

Chaplin and staff had to quickly dismiss rumors that Fandango was to be utilized in a literal sense, as the word means “a lively Spanish or Spanish-American dance in triple time, performed by a man and a woman playing castanets” (Dictionary.com, 2008). The college also looked to avoid potential confusion with Fandango.com, a website and corporation devoted to the sale of movie tickets over the telephone and Internet.

Today, Fandango can be seen at nearly all indoor sporting events, making occasional appearances at alumni gatherings, student life conventions and photo shoots. In the rarest of instances, Fandango can be seen with Messiah’s older, nameless mascot, at times pushing it around in a wheelchair.

Like all true mascots, Fandango does not speak. Its identity is also closely guarded by Chaplin and the MNC.

“Fandango is a mascot of the people,” Chaplin said. “It is for the fans, and it’s been great for us. Fandango adds a great deal to our athletics program here, and we thank Messiah’s truest Falcon for that.”