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Midway Moments: Now that’s a paper airplane ... and it’s landed at O.C. Fair’s paper garden

A rickety vintage airplane sporting orange wings that was piloted by a baby has landed at the Orange County Fair, and it’s causing passersby to gaze on it with shock and awe.

Believe it.

Well, some of it anyway.

The plane is rickety because it’s made of cardboard. And we can surmise it was “piloted” by a baby because its now-empty cockpit contains a “Baby on board” sign.

The plane has found a temporary home in the fair’s Visual Arts Gallery as the centerpiece of an art exhibit by Kiel Johnson titled “Garden Variety: A Collaborative Paper Garden.”

The exhibit runs through the end of the fair Aug. 13 in Costa Mesa.

Johnson, based in Los Angeles, calls his plane “Solo Squadron.” It’s a toddler-size craft resembling a 1930s crop duster but with some kid-ish elements, such as a “bug juice” flask and a lever for the plane to go up, down, twirl, flip or crash. Toward the tail is a hole labeled “access to access panel.”

The tires are made by “Bad Year.” A box resting below the plane has stickers from Bermuda and Area 51. Another sticker reads “Hindenburg: Germany or Combust!”

“People are so talented,” one passerby remarked on a recent afternoon.

Speaking of people, Johnson wants your help.

He wants “Garden Variety” to bloom with paper creations. His goal during the fair is to make it the world’s largest paper garden.

Already, many paper flowers have been installed in the garden plots throughout the exhibit. There’s also a boat, a fruit and vegetable cart, trees and vines.

Fair officials and Johnson are inviting visitors to “create flowers, cars and anything else their heart desires using only construction paper, scissors and glue.”

Craft times supervised by Johnson will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, Wednesday and Aug. 5 and 6. Others will be done randomly throughout the fair, officials said.

“I know some people will want to take their creations home, and I will set aside a few days toward the end of the fair to pick up their stuff,” Johnson said in a news release. “But I want to encourage people to leave their stuff behind so that everyone can see what a beautiful piece of art everyone helped make.”

Midway Moments is a recurring column chronicling the Orange County Fair.

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @BradleyZint

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