Life Size Candyland Leaves Me Wanting More

The concept was irresistible. Turn Lombard street, the most zig-zaggy street in the US, into a giant Candyland game for the 40th anniversary of the invention of Candyland. They did a fantastic job of paving the whole street with rubber tiles, the kind that interconnect like puzzle pieces (you see them at pre-schools). And Lombard street was abloom with flowers. But I was actually disappointed. I'd envisioned at the very least, Giant Candy Canes. Surely one could easily purchase those cheaply at an Xmas Surplus Supply store. In the way of oversized fake candy, there were only 6 giant lollipops at each the start and finish of the game. And OK, one big candy cane sticker on the course (doesn't really count).

The game moved unbearably slowly. Just look at these kids to the left. We have one yawner, 2 sprawlers and another in a rather defensive posture. I think the organizers were trying to stretch the game out so that it covered more time, but all the kids really wanted to do was to hurtle/ roll/ slide down the street as quickly as possible. There was much antsy behavior, on the part of the contestants and spectators. Kind of ironic, that the game was originally designed to relieve polio-stricken kids from boredom.

Every ten minutes or so, a team got to move and everyone aimed their cameras toward the whirlwind of kids careening around the corners. 10 seconds later it was over, and we waited again.

Am I too critical? The path beautifully executed, the concept brilliant - but the entire package felt undercooked. Even the winners, which were promised to be doused in confetti, were merely sprinkled by 2 sandwich sized ziplocks worth (tossed by little kids amongst a throng of tall media people). I had expected, excuse the pun, more eye candy. Giant Candy Canes to start, but giant marshmallows, bonbons, chocolate pieces etc etc - I bet if there'd been a post for volunteer local crafters to donate giant homemade fake candy, there'd be a riotous turnout of oversized sweets to decorate the course. And music. Maybe something by the umpah-lumpahs. And free edible candy for all. Perhaps my expectations were skewed by a mental blurring of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory with Halloween with Candyland.

The game of course, was best viewed from the air. From a helicopter's eye view, one could fully appreciate the colored pathway and the windy-ness. Anyways, the kids looked happy for the most part, and I guess that was the main point.