The Birth of

______Fez Head Fred______

The Brain Child of Gary J. Bergenske

Text Box: Gary Bergenske submitted the idea of 
Fez Head Fred to the Imperial Membership Comm. in January of 2002.  A year later he was a reality, and today he is an International Icon representing Shriners worldwide. 
 It was through Gary’s vision for the future that we have a Mascot for the Shriners.  Fez Head Fred is a hit in Parades, the East West Game and many other functions.
Children love Fez Head Fred, and he will prove to be valuable in the future as the next generation will have a familiar connection to the Red Fez and Shriners.
Text Box:    
   At the January 26, 2002 Imperial Executive Membership Meeting, Gary Bergenske presented a written proposal to the other members.  He requested they consider a child-friendly mascot to represent the Shriners Fraternity.  Gary explained that such a Mascot could receive a lot of attention, get children of all ages familiar with Shriners, and become a recognizable icon of the Shrine.  The committee agreed and gave Bergenske the green flag to design such a Mascot, and to present it at the next meeting.
    By the time of the next meeting  Bergenske had three design choices for the committee to look at.  Each of them unique in their own way.  The committee agreed on the larger, softer, blow up type of character.  This is the design that was felt to be the one that would attract children the most, with it’s friendly face, and three fingered hands.  The first proto type Fez Head Fred was ordered in 2003 and was instantly a hit. The first time it was used was at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa and Bergenske was in attendance as the children fell in love with his idea, Fez Head Fred.  A week later Fez Head Fred made his first television appearance on a Tampa station morning program.  He was a hit their as well.
     Today many Shrine Centers across North America have their own Fez Head Fred as a result of Bergenske’s vision to improve the Shrine’s identity with the younger generations.  This should help membership in the future, as younger generations will already be familiar with the Red Fez.  The future uses for Fez Head Fred are unlimited.  In 2005-06, he became Gary Bergenske’s  campaign pin figure used in Bergenskes run for the Imperial Outer Guard.