Albert wished a happy birthday

Published: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 11:59 p.m.
Birth records are not kept in Lake Alice, so no one is quite sure when Albert clawed his way out of the egg. But his birthday was celebrated on Sunday with cupcakes, jugglers, a magician and lots of Gator friends.
Albert is the male mascot for the University of Florida, and his party was held after the UF women's basketball game.
"Albert has a birthday. We don't know exactly what day, but we started celebrating it a few years ago around this time," said Holly Gion, a marketing intern. "People really like Albert. He's a lovable guy. Kids can't go up and hug the players, but they can hug Albert."
Albert didn't have too much to say about his birthday, perhaps because he had hundreds of kids wanting a hug or a kiss or an autograph, and he had a hard time hearing with all the commotion.
Among the kids were Demi Hunt and Emma Redd, two Newberry Elementary School students.
"I love him because he goes for the Gators," Demi said.
"Albert makes basketball fun and makes kids feel happy," Emma said.
Alberta, Albert's counterpart, was also at the party. Her birthday is in a few months and will be celebrated at a UF softball game.
Cindy Swirko can be reached at 374-5024 or

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