The Hutto WHO?
One of the most amusing -- let's just get right to the point and say quirky -- towns in Williamson County, perhaps in all of Texas, is Hutto, whose school mascot is the hippopotamus. In fact, currently they remain the only school district in the nation to call themselves the Hippos. No one knows for sure how the hippo became embedded in Hutto culture, but three stories make their cases. The first story explains that one day in the early 1900s a hippo temporarily escaped from a circus train and frolicked in a local creek until apprehended and returned to the train. The next story tells of a rival coach who took one look at the large players on the Hutto team and proclaimed his team would certainly lose because the Hutto players were the size of hippos. The third story has it that a rival football coach disparaged the Hutto team because they wore rustic, rudimentary uniforms. This coach felt that their baggy uniforms made them look like hippos.
Hippo culture is a seriously cool thing, make no mistake. Homes and businesses all over the city have adopted the Hippo as their mascot and statues of hippos stand in yards and parking lots throughout the town. Some newspaper articles refer to 100 hippo statues distributed around Hutto, but many more than that dot the landscape. The statues vary in size from life-sized to small, and strike a variety of poses from sitting to standing, to looking over the shoulder, to mouth open, closed or yawning.
Usually the hippo statues reflect a quality of the business owner or a personality trait of the statue owner. One very large hippo representing an automobile business in Hutto features eight headers extending from the hippo's sides, a spoiler on its rear end and a ratchet in its mouth. This hippo sports a fade paint job in black, yellow and orange. Another huge hippo sure to impress wears an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, orange-with-yellow-polka-dots bikini. Yet another large hippo wears blue overalls and a red and white checked shirt. The Hutto Area Chamber of Commerce sells ten different sizes and poses of concrete hippo statues ranging in size from twenty-six inches high/ 750 pounds for $250 to desk/shelf-sized for $25. The mayor of Hutto annually awards the Golden Hippo for good citizenship. And the beat goes on.
Hutto has much more on offer though than their hippos as their steady growth rate shows. According to the 2,000 census, 1,250 people resided in Hutto. The census of 2010 revealed that 14,698 people lived in Hutto, and records for 2016 indicate that 17,000 people now make Hutto their home. Three annual festivals will appeal to tourists who find themselves in the area. On April 15, 2017, Hutto will celebrate its 7th Annual Crawfish Festival. Its Annual Olde Tyme Days Festival takes place in October, with 2017 marking the 32nd year for this festival. The Annual Christmas Fair takes place each December. All of these festivals take place in downtown Hutto and feature many types of vendors and events.