Whether you grew up watching cartoon characters like the Care Bears, Chip and Dale or Winnie the Pooh because your parents believed that these characters helped instill good values, count yourself fortunate.
Could you ever have imagined that instead of cuddly bears or woodland critters, your own offspring would someday fall in love with a personality-packed sponge dressed in khaki pants and wearing a man’s tie? Probably not. Especially a character with the tongue-twisting name of SpongeBob SquarePants!
In fact, this unlikely undersea character debuted to an eager and curious audience of kids (and adults willing to admit their own fascination) in 1999, and for reasons some adults still can’t fathom, this sponge with the big eyes and huge front teeth became a pop culture phenomenon.
SpongeBob SquarePants lessons continue to be invaluable, helping kids learn about friendship, cooperation and especially the value of a good laugh.
Who’s responsible for this quirky sponge’s rise to fame? The answer could floor you! The idea of animating a sponge was proposed by Marine Biologist Stephen Hillenburg whose cartooning hobby led to the creation of the character, originally named Spongeboy.
Why was Hillenberg adamant about keeping the word sponge in his cartoon’s name? Because he was fearful that kids would mistake him for a big chunk of yellow Swiss cheese! Patrick Starfish was originally designed to be an angry bar owner and (here’s a surprise), Squidward Q. Tentacles isn’t a Squid. He’s only got six legs, after all! Such is the fantasy world of this undersea family where all of the characters are unique.
First Asian Namesake Run Comes to Singapore
Now that you’re a mini-expert on SpongeBob’s origination story, you’re going to want to run in the very first SpongeBob Run Singapore, since it’s to be held right here, on home soil. You don’t have to go to a pineapple under the sea to sign up for this event.
Check out the run details and put 6 August 2016 at Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa on your calendar. Sponsor/organisers Nickelodeon (Viacom) and X-Change Republic promise more fun than all of the octopi sprawled across the South China Sea floor, so the question is, why wouldn’t you want to get in on the very first SpongeBob family event?
It’s a Run. No! It’s a Game.
Actually, it’s both, because the objective of this half run/half game is to go in search of Patrick Star following clues and landmarks spread over the 5km run route.
If scenery along the run route looks familiar, it should: you are going to encounter lots of landmarks that represent the underwater city of Bikini Bottom, and you’ll also run into life-size cutouts of everyone in the cast. We urge you not to stop dead in your tracks when you spot these iconic undersea houses and marine critters.
Okay. We amend that. Do stop for a selfie. Or more selfies. Then get going or competitors will swim ahead of you to the finish line!
Who Can You Thank?
As a SpongeBob fan, we know that you may be inclined to send a letter of thanks to Hillenberg for inventing the guy in the square pants, but credit for this first signature run belongs to earthbound creatives who wondered why nobody under the water or above had come up with an event like this before now.
After all, Bob’s been around for 17 years! Thanks to Asia’s Viacom International Media Networks crew, the race idea was suggested and everyone pounced on it like a hungry snapper. Timing couldn’t be better, either. The race is going to be staged just before National Day.
A Sea-son of Fun and Games
There are two registration categories, basic or normal, and entitlement packs reflect the difference: The basic entry fee is S$49.50 and includes an official t-shirt, event medal and runner’s license. For an additional S$10, the normal pack also includes a plush SpongeBob toy and drawstring bag embellished with Bob’s image!
In addition to completing the Bikini Bottom race course, join the party at the adjacent carnival filled with entertainments, food and events, all of which will reflect the nautical world of Bob and his BFFs. Once the race comes to its seaworthy conclusion, participants will be treated to three episodes of the SpongeBob SquarePants Show, so you can imagine yourself at a Hollywood red carpet event – except you don’t need fancy clothes to attend the special showing that caps this fantastic day of fun.
Don’t Miss This Landmark Occasion
It’s not every day that a high-profile event tied to so famous a character as SpongeBob debuts in Asia, but the Viacom people specifically chose Singapore because these characters are beloved throughout the land.
As extra incentives to run through Bob’s world, the first 30 race entrants will have the honour of meeting both SpongeBob and Patrick in person, so if you’re among this group, you’ll be treated like a rock star. So, what do you say?
Will you get into the swim by registering now? It’s advisable because once word gets out that the stars of the SpongeBob SquarePants Show will be in town, things are going to get busier than a fish market selling the catch of the day at reduced prices.
Do you think that today’s cartoon characters are as good at teaching life lessons and values as they were years ago?