The University of California, Irvineâ€™s anteater mascot, voted Mashableâ€™s 2015 Mascot Madness champion, captained the campusâ€™s entry in the 107th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, complete with live singers, and instrumental performances that won the “Best Music” award. Peterâ€™s appearance in the parade, themed â€śSeas the Holidays,â€ť is part of UCIâ€™s 50th anniversary celebration. The UCI @ 50 craft â€“ and Peter â€“ cruised the harbor nightly through Saturday, Dec. 19.
Members of the UCI Chamber SingersÂ Lauren Han, Gabriela Lavadia, Jacob Tulley and Garrett J. Sanderson performed a cappella versions of classic Christmas songs under the choral direction ofÂ Seth Houston, professor of music.
Faculty and staff of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts also produced and performed holiday-themed music. Alan Terricciano, professor of dance; Men in Blaque, directed byÂ Joseph Huszti; Bobby Rodriguez, Nicole Mitchel and Kei Akagi, professors of music; and Norman Beede, senior musician and director of dance accompanists, all got in on the act.
UCI’s Pep Band provided rousing tunes as well.
Funded by alumni donors and friends, the entry highlights the universityâ€™s commitment to sustainability. Students wearing anteater masks pedal stationary bikes connected to generators to power the boatâ€™s lights. A giant, inflatable likeness of Peter the Anteater keeps watch on the bow, while the live mascot himself â€“ sporting a nautical outfit â€“ waves to onlookers. Jesse Colin Jackson, assistant professor of art in UCIâ€™s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, designed the yachtâ€™s decorations, and his students helped execute the plan.
â€śMy research group, which volunteered to create and build the design focused on the 50th anniversary, is fundamentally concerned with merging technology, creativity and sustainability,â€ť Jackson says. â€śWe decided that running the lights from bicycles would not only align with our campusâ€™s renewable energy initiatives and the UC systemâ€™s 2025 carbon neutrality goal, but also just be so cool!â€ť
UCI is one of about 80 participants in the parade, which helped earn Newport Beach a spot in Frommerâ€™s list of the Worldâ€™s Best Holiday Lights: 10 Decorated Cities.