Rather than a bird or a plane, the beloved Muppet character Miss Piggy could be seen ascending into the sky as part of a tradition in the little town of Washington, Calif.
“It’s a fun event,” said Henry DeCorte, owner of the Washington Hotel, which served as the “control center” of the event. “Last year we sent Kermit the Frog, and this year we’re sending Miss Piggy.”
The town developed a connection to the Muppets after the Ford Escape Hybrid Superbowl commercial was filmed there in 2006. One of the crewmembers from Jim Henson’s team who shot the commercial, Todd Denovich, took a liking to the city and visited for several years during Thanksgiving.
“I met a lot of the residents in town, they invited me back for Thanksgiving, and I’ve been going back ever since,” Denovich said. “It’s really special for Thanksgiving. The town gathers for a potluck Thankgsgiving there. It’s a family-oriented town, a pretty special unique little place.”
Denovich facilitated the launch of Kermit the Frog last year and did the same for this year’s launch of Miss Piggy.
“The balloon is a military-grade balloon I purchased, and the capsule is a candy container converted to look like a little space capsule,” Denovich said.
A parade of vehicles headed to the launch pad for the takeoff while 65 locals, out-of-town spectators and special guest Muppet “Animal” gathered around the launch pad and the inflated weather balloon.
At approximately 1 p.m., Miss Piggy lifted off to the sound of Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” played from the speaker atop a truck.
The town is hopeful that the Muppets will be found somewhere in the world, almost like a message in a bottle.
If either Miss Piggy or Kermit the Frog are found, DeCorte asked to be contacted at the Washington Hotel at (530) 265-4364.
Denovich said Washington can expect another Muppet, “Monster,” to be sent into space next year.
Denovich said the event is unifying for the community and that locals write notes that are put in the capsule with the Muppet.
“The people don’t always leave the town, and hopes and dreams and adventures are sent into space with the puppet,” Denovich said. “It really helps bring the community together. We’ve started a bit of a tradition.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4230.