Serves four (hundred)Long Beach, WA and Seaside, OR

Giant Frying Pan sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Well, I can’t feature the Winlock Egg without giving you something to cook it in, can I? Just over the coast range from Winlock is the town of Long Beach, home of the perfect roadside companion to the World’s Largest Egg.

Since it’s not exactly as flamboyant as, say, a giant orange, people often blow right by this one without even noticing it. But this giant frying pan is much more than just a monument. It’s a replica of a real, no-kidding, fourteen-foot pan that was actually used to cook food. For many years this frying pan was a permanent fixture of Long Beach’s annual Razor Clam Festival—where chefs actually used it for the clam fritter cook-off. I don’t know about you, but that fact alone raises this humble giant right to the top of my personal list of favorite roadside attractions.

Giant Frying Pan sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Speaking of which, my roadside attractions gallery exhibit is closing tomorrow (Washington folks, hurry!), so today is the last post about roadside giants—for a little while, at least. Next week I’ll be back with a different topic and a broader range of sketches. But I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have these past few weeks—because as you can probably guess, there’s a lot more where this came from.

Happy weekend—see you on Monday.

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Two-ton tater totO'Leary, PEI, Canada

Giant Potato sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Oh, the fates were cruel to me this day. I happened to pass through a town that shared my last name, and in that town I stumbled upon a giant fiberglass potato. In front of a potato museum.

Which had closed an hour before.

Now, really. That’s just not fair.

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Tuxedo twinsCut Bank, MT and Chehalis, WA

Cut Bank Penguin sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Bless their hearts, these birds aren’t quite so elegant as the Topeka Wren, but that’s no reason not to stand proud and proclaim their purpose.

Actually, even that is a little muddled here. Maybe Cut Bank really is the coldest spot in the nation… just don’t tell International Falls, MN. Or, you know, the entire state of Alaska.

Yard Bird sketch by Chandler O'Leary

And Washington’s famous Yard Birds store? Well, it’s defunct. But that’s okay—the 60-foot namesake (12th bird?) is alive and well, and standing for something, at the very least.

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Wild goose chaseWawa, ON, Canada

Wawa Goose sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Wawa is the Ojibwe word for “wild goose”—a fact the town of Wawa, Ontario would prefer you didn’t forget.

Wawa Goose sketch by Chandler O'Leary

And just to make sure the lesson hits home, there is a veritable flock of giant geese waiting to welcome you.

Wawa Goose sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I just hope these guys don’t get the notion to fly south for the winter—then we’ll be in trouble.

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Wrented wingsTopeka, KS

Topeka Wren sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I’m always up for the hokey and awkward when it comes to roadside attractions, but every now and again you find a true masterpiece.

Case in point: the Topeka Wren (formerly the mascot for WREN radio in Lawrence, KS) nearly took my breath away. This bird is a couple decades older than your average roadside statue, so that may explain the difference in style. But what I love is how true to form the sculpture is. The sweeping bill and tail defy the parameters of what concrete can achieve, and the pose is incredibly lifelike.

I know, I know—it’s completely nuts to wax poetic about giant concrete birds. But if roadside sculptures were oil paintings (which is a comparison I often make, heaven help me!), I’m pretty sure this is the one DaVinci would have created.

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In the pinkMarquette, IA

Pink Elephant sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Some of my favorite roadside attractions are the ones that are totally incongruous with the surrounding area (like finding a blue whale in the middle of Oklahoma).

Unless, that is, I’m wildly misinformed, and Iowa is actually chock full of elephants…

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And the winner is…

Darwin, MN illustration by Chandler O'Leary

I don’t normally post on Thursdays, but I had to break in here to tell you that the Giant Twine Ball in Darwin, MN is the clear people’s choice! No disrespect to its lovely (and technically larger) sisal-sister in Kansas, but the voters have spoken, and by an overwhelming margin, Minnesota’s masterpiece is the clear winner. Congratulations, Darwin—you’re a superstar in my book.

Thanks to everybody who cast their vote here on the blog or on social media! The Tailor is extremely grumpy about the outcome, of course, but I’m glad y’all set the record straight.

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Feeling blueCatoosa, OK

Blue Whale of Catoosa sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I’m not sure if kids used to find this guy diverting or terrifying, but the Blue Whale of Catoosa is still just as memorable as he must have been in his heyday.

Blue Whale of Catoosa sketch by Chandler O'Leary

This spot was once a roadside swimmin’ hole along Route 66. These days it’s just a roadside monument, but that’s okay—it’s not like we were there at the right time of year.

Blue Whale of Catoosa sketch by Chandler O'Leary

It didn’t matter—all of a sudden, we felt like we were eight years old again.

Blue Whale of Catoosa sketch by Chandler O'Leary

* * *

Today is the last day to vote for the best Twine Ball! Hurry and cast your vote, and we’ll declare the winner on Facebook tomorrow!

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Orange you gladShasta Lake, CA

Giant Orange sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Apparently these giant orange stands (which are actually ducks) used to be so common along the old Pacific Highway that by the time you got thirsty on your journey, you’d have arrived at the next one. There are just a handful remaining today, and I was extra lucky to discover that this one was actually still a functioning juice stand (though inside the attached building, no longer the orange itself).

Because let me tell you, this is one advertising ploy that must have worked well: by the time we reached the door, we were ready to shell out any amount for fresh orange juice.

* * *

Did you remember to vote for the best Twine Ball? Hurry and cast your vote, and we’ll declare the winner on Thursday!

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