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Eye candy: getting high at California’s Sugar Rush theme park

Craving for candy without the calories?

Feast your eyes on a whirl of giant lollipops, cupcakes and all things sweet at Sugar Rush, a pop-up theme park in Los Angeles. Pop a free treat into your mouth at the end, after walking through with a mask.

“I’m in love with this place. The minute I stepped in here I felt like I’m having a sugar rush without eating any sugar,” said Guia Weingarten, a young visitor.

The brightly colored park, created with 350 gallons of paint on a 50,000 square foot parking lot, was meant to be a drive-through experience at the height of the pandemic.

But as lockdown curbs eased, plans changed to allow visitors to linger up close with its oversized unicorns, giraffes and kangaroos, explore its mirrored corridors, and interact with colorfully costumed cast members.

“We like to say that Sugar Rush is Burning Man and Willy Wonka getting together for a radical spin-off and that’s what you have here,” said Jasen Smith, chief executive of Experiential Supply, who created the park.

The park may seem to be geared toward kids, “but really we want mom, dad, brother, sister that are a little older to come here and really enjoy it,” he added.

It was a “surreal experience” for grown-up visitor Jade Alonso. “Everything has been just stay in the car and don’t go out and now it’s just walking around but safely so it’s definitely weird.”

“This is a really great, very happy change,” said Carine Weingarten.

Sugar Rush, at the parking lot of the Woodland Hills Westfield shopping arcade, is expected to run until May 2.

  • Reporting by Rollo Ross; Writing by Richard Chang; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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