When horror aficionado Fester Crain entered the fairgrounds’ O’Brien Corridor this weekend for the Oddities & Curiosities Expo, he identified himself in a bizarre position: on the reverse aspect of the vendor’s booth.
Crain, 37, around the several years has attended this expo as an eager supporter of the weird (shopping for a fox head and sheep mind final yr). But Saturday he was selling his individual model of the scary crafty.
When the Linda Vista gentleman isn’t concocting well-known hamburgers at Hodad’s San Diego, he’s conjuring, molding and portray monster heads. And this yr he had a chance to be a element of the demonstrate.
Tale carries on down below
Crain joined 69 other generally California distributors who returned to marketing after currently being shut out in the course of a great deal of 2020 simply because of the pandemic. About 2,000 persons paid out $10 to browse the weird Saturday.
Tickets by time authorized a constrained selection in the cavernous developing at the moment.
The 1-working day expo started its 25-metropolis 2021 tour at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It following moves to San Francisco and is scheduled to show its wares from Charlotte to Chicago to Seattle through November.
But COVID pointers have adjusted the landscape of the once-a-year event.
Distinctions include things like mandated mask putting on, hand sanitizer at booths and only 50 % the quantity of booths for social distancing.
What has not transformed at the expo “for fans of the weird, unconventional and bizarre” is its spirit.
Although “oddities” and “curiosities” may well give you aged-time circus vibes, there have been a good deal of acceptable-for-all-sensitivity products like butterflies, confections, lamps and jewellery — and a couple spiritual products.
A Bible, a picture of Jesus and a crucifix have been on display. But one particular also could obtain a figurine of a nun holding a bleeding child.
And the toddlers in artwork had been additional macabre than adorable.
Teams of folks favored booths with animal specimens in jars and animal bones and critter pelts, Also raccoon and coyote “penis bones” (for $6).
According to expo coordinator Michelle Cozzaglio, Californians can invest in a human cranium.
“California does have stricter legislation on animal bones, although,” she explained. “Our sellers have to abide by the condition restrictions. … For example, in California you cannot market any bear skulls, or anything at all bear-linked.”
But bone origins are vital.
All of the animals that you are going to come across in the clearly show died the natural way,” mentioned Cozzaglio, a Oklahoma resident. “None of the suppliers, of training course, killed the animals for the sake of art or gathering. I’m definitely significant on that. I’m vegan myself.”
Contacting herself a substantial animal lover, she stated she’s declined distributors who had been hunters.
Throughout the nation, the expo characteristics taxidermy, preserved wet and dry specimens, odd antiques, horror goods, primary artwork, animal and human skulls/bones, jewelry created from bugs/bones and much more.
No human skulls had been seen Saturday.
Cozzaglio claims she gets numerous vendor programs, but has to change a range down mainly because their artwork wasn’t weird adequate. Nevertheless, she hasn’t turned down anybody for the reverse purpose: remaining far too weird.
She talked about how the expo came about in 2017.
“I’m a collector myself of all factors strange, so which is type of how it arrived about,” she mentioned. “My spouse and I have been organizing scaled-down, offbeat situations for a prolonged time now.”
A several years in the past, they asked on their own: What if we had an celebration that was just variety of concentrating on all matters strange?
“It definitely just grew from there,” she stated, laughing.
Presented the uncertainty of the pandemic, Cozzaglio isn’t constructive her tour will go as marketed.
“It’s quite probable that not all the demonstrates we’ve scheduled will take place,” Cozzaglio said. “You know, we’re submitting all of our options to the overall health departments, operating with [them] specifically. We have a good deal of pointers, pretty restricted ability. It’s a lot different from typical.”
She conceded that some folks “definitely” item to holding situations suitable now.
But, she mentioned, many others are joyful simply because it “brings some style of normalcy again to our life.”