‘Phlyin Phanatic’ takes to the sky in competition

The Phillie Phanatic has seen it all in his 32 years, from dancing on dugouts to fighting with umps to appearing in an episode of “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” This weekend, an ambitious group of Phillies fans hope to launch the country’s most famous mascot into the Delaware River.

“This is the chance of a lifetime,” said Adam Denard. “I mean it’s not like winning the World Series, but it’s going to be a great time.”

Denard is the leader of “Phlyin Phanatics,” a five-person entry in Saturday’s Red Bull Flugtag. Thirty-two teams will attempt to send a homemade flying machine off a 30-foot high ramp located on the Camden waterfront. The goal is for it to soar through the air, although Denard admits that likely won’t happen with his design: a 22-foot wide replica of the Phillie Phanatic, complete with party-streamer fur and sail-cloth wings. The 150-pound Denard will pilot the contraption.

“We don’t really think it’s going to fly that far,” Denard said. “If it dives in the ground and explodes into pieces, that’s even better.”

The team — comprised of Bryan Reese, 30; Dan White, 28; Ryan Young, 29; Julie Jones, 36; and Denard, 30 — has invested 400-plus hours, including “two power hours,” to the project since May, with no weekends off. In fact, when Jones asked if she could take a weekend off and head to the beach, she was denied.

“It’s a sacrifice, everyone is on lockdown,” said Denard, who has been to a New Jersey shore house just twice this summer.

The ultimate goal is a show bordering on the absurd. They’ll have 300 boozed-up friends stationed on a party boat in the Delaware River.

“Bottom line, we just want to party and be obnoxious,” Denard said.

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