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Eggzamining Sunny Side Up
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If you haven’t heard about the “Turlock Sunny Side Up” temporary public art project, it’s a pretty eggcelent idea.
In short, 24 fiberglass eggs — each 4 feet tall — will be painted and decorated by local artists. These eggs will then be “laid” around Turlock in the month of April, with the public art installation culminating in an Egg Festival in downtown Turlock on April 17.
I know, I know, you’re probably jumping out of your chair in sheer excitement from this news. You’re spilling your coffee all over this column and running to find out how you can go about sponsoring one of these eggs.
Actually, based on the statistics the Turlock Journal’s Web site has gathered, you probably think the idea is pretty silly.
In our weekly poll people saying they “hate” the idea of Turlock Sunny Side Up cast 56 votes, accounting for 50 percent of our current vote total. In fairness, that number could be the result of one irate person clicking “Hate it” 56 times, but who am I to question the authority of the Internet?
For what it’s worth, I’m one of the 20 people who said, “I’m not sure yet,” in our poll.
I do believe that the sight of these colorful eggs around town will be somewhat eggciting. While Turlock is not a homely city, it is a bit lacking in terms of public art — save for the, ahem, beloved Califia and what is actually a rather nice bronze statue of John Mitchell.
If nothing else, these eggs will help to get us in the mood for Easter.
More importantly, these eggs will give Turlock an excuse to celebrate. Turlock desperately needs an annual festival. Heck, I’m still mourning the loss of the Melon Festival from, well, however long ago that was.
If you look around our county, it’s easy to see that we’re just about the only city without our own annual festival. Oakdale has the Chocolate Festival. Riverbank has Cheese and Wine. Patterson has the Apricot Fiesta.
But — and here’s my main problem with this Turlock Sunny Side Up idea — we chose to focus our new festival around eggs?
Turlock is home to Gemperle Farms, yes. We produce a lot of eggs here. But if I were to ask you, “What agricultural good do you associate with Turlock,” would your first response be eggs? I’d probably say dairy, myself.
Of course other communities have already decorated large fiberglass cows and we didn’t want to be copycats, but perhaps we could have painted massive milk cartons instead?
The future of the egg industry in California is also in question, following the 2008 passage of Proposition 2. Many producers are expected to flee the state rather than comply with stringent — and costly — rules regarding appropriate cages for chickens.
So, even though the chickens came before the egg festival, the egg festival may outlast the chickens.
While the Oakdale Chocolate Festival carries on without the Hershey Chocolate plant in town, it’s pretty clear there is a major difference between chocolate and eggs.
People love chocolate. Who loves eggs? I mean, sure, they’re good, but how many eggs can you eat in a day? How many times do you find yourself thinking, “Man, an egg sure sounds good right now?”
If we look back at the themes of other major local festivals – chocolate, wine, cheese, and apricots – these are things that are universally regarded as delicious. That people eat for fun, not just because they have a lot of protein, are inexpensive, and are quick to cook for breakfast.
My stomach turns just a little thinking about the plates of deviled eggs, scrambled eggs, and casseroles that will be sitting out on the sun, waiting to be eaten.
Most importantly, my stomach turns when I think about drinking beer or wine alongside my eggs.
Lets face it, folks: These annual festivals are an excuse to get drunk in public during the daytime. Who wants to drink while they’re eating eggs?
Maybe I’d down a mimosa with my overeasy eggs, but I certainly wouldn’t stand in line at the beer tent over and over and over again.
Heck, if I was in charge of this art festival I think I’d buy a few 4-foot tall fiberglass beer bottles, throw a brewfest, and forget about eggs completely.
Brewing may not be in our agricultural heritage, but can you name any wineries in Riverbank? I guarantee you’d get more people excited about beer than eggs.
Fortunately, there is one saving grace to this whole egg festival idea: Eggnog. In fact, I think I might file the paperwork to run the eggnog booth right now. I guarantee it’ll be the most popular stop at the festival.
In all honesty, I do look forward to the artistic eggs around town. I’ll probably make a stop at the egg festival, too, if for no other reason than to man my eggnog tent.
But I’m just not sure this idea is all it’s cracked up to be. I’d hate to see the planners get egg on their faces if attendance comes in below projections.
Really, I’d just hate to see Turlock become the yolk of Stanislaus County.
To contact Alex Cantatore, please do not communicate by way of thrown eggs. Instead, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.