Some State Fair Weirdness

Put this on the ballot - When the budget is late, we have to fly this above the Capitol.
Put this on the ballot - When the budget is late, we have to fly this above the Capitol.

As encouragement for you to head over to Cal Expo for the California State Fair, I will entice you with some little tastes of what you could be enjoying if you were there right now. But first, a huge congrats to the state’s most famous purveyor of deep fried treats and his new bride! Chicken Charlie got married at The Fair today on the promenade stage in front of his food stand. The wedding cake? Totally fried cheesecake, and it was delicious. Mazel Tov, and thanks for sharing the special day with us!

The Big Rock Candy Mountain
The Big Rock Candy Mountain

Whoa. Dude. Are you seeing what I am seeing? Totally psychedelic. The centerpiece of the Candy Nation exhibit is the Big Rock Candy Mountain. If you look hard enough, you can see the little streams of alcohol come trickling down the rocks. And the birds and the bees, and the cigarette trees, and the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings…sorry, I haven’t come down from my sugar intoxication. Candy Nation honors the long history of the candy industry in California and features cooking demonstrations. With candy. Because candy is not delicious enough, so we need to make dishes with it. There are several examples of Jelly Belly art, like the portrait of the Governor pictured above and the original portrait of President Reagan.

Even Bigfoot can't keep his eyes off of her
Even Bigfoot can't keep his eyes off of her

The Weird, Wild and Wacky exhibit features several live shows, but the crowd favorite is clearly the Fire Pixies. After all, any show that features sassy dancing, acrobatics, stick fu and tons of flaming stunts is going to overshadow the competition. I’m going to work on my flaming photo skills and attempt a more comprehensive essay, but no pictures can do this show justice. Don’t miss it.

Q:What else can be done with a toothpick besides picking one's teeth?

Speaking of pictures not doing something justice, this sculpture of San Francisco is made entirely of toothpicks and towers more than nine feet above viewers. Artist Scott Weaver assembled more than 100,000 toothpicks over 34 years to construct this wonder than not only features dozens of San Francisco landmarks, but has four tracks that carry ping pong balls throughout it like a Rube Goldberg machine. If you want to meet the man who is…well…weird enough to construct such an amazing work of art, he is available and giving ping pong ball demos. I get the feeling that his presence is due to trepidation of leaving such a complicated and fragile obsession so close to public hands. Considering the time and effort invested, I don’t blame him.

A sampling of winning art made by kids
A sampling of winning art made by kids

Like Weaver’s toothpick tower, the creative arts that are entered in The Fair each year are featured in the Exposition Center. I’m not sure why, but I always enjoy the children’s art more than the adult art. Maybe kids still possess a uninhibited creativity that unburdens them from the sense that someone will be judging their art. Or, maybe kids are just insane.

Best of Show - Black Sabbath Warlock by Brittany Brazil
Best of Show - Black Sabbath Warlock by Brittany Brazil

Judges were falling over themselves over Sacramentan Brittany Brazil’s guitars. They deemed this one to be the best and she walked away with the Best of Show accolades for youth in the Craft and Hobbies category. Get close up to this and the detail in her wood burning is amazing. Beyond the realism in the faces, you start to notice the background patterns, the cherubs and the motion. The guitar head is also a work of art, but is almost overlooked as the intricacy of the body is hypnotic. Tony Iommi would be lucky to have a guitar so beautiful.

Best of Show winner
Best of Show - Lee Counts His Snails Under the Bodhi Tree by Tony Natsoulas

I think I am still coming down from that Candy Mountain trip. Is that dude’s head covered with snails? Is that Colin Powell? Colin Powell with a head of snails? Is this artist trying to give me a bum trip? Sacramentan Tony Natsoulas won Best of Show for his whimsical sculpture that was inspired by an ancient Buddhist myth. His friend Lee spun a tale of the Buddha meditating under a Bodhi tree, and how snails heroically martyred themselves to protect the Buddha and his precious brain from the searing sun. No, that is not Colin Powell, but is Tony’s storytelling friend. If I ever meet him around town, I hope his head is not adorned with dead gastropods.

That Bigfoot is starting to creep me out
That Bigfoot guy is starting to creep me out

Did I mention the Fire Pixies?

One thought on “Some State Fair Weirdness”

  1. Good stuff, definitely. Unfortunately for us, the Fire Pixies missed their first show on opening day completely (no one knew where they were?), leaving the very resourceful Will Roya to try out a new escape on a bewildered audience.

    Also a comment: when did professional artists (Tony N.) enter their stuff at the State Fair? Give some amateurs a chance!


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