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Every city has a street that stands out for some reason. But, did you know there is a street that is dedicated to bubble gums? The ‘Bubblegum Alley’ in San Luis Obispo, California is one of the most popular attractions. The walls of this alley has a huge collection of used bubble gums (Ewww). The small alley is 15-foot high and 70-foot long and is lined with chewed gum left by passers-by.
The Story Behind The Bubblegum Alley
There are several beliefs around why this alley is covered in bubblegums. According to the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Business Improvement Association, the tradition began after an event conducted at the San Luis Obispo High School. Few others believe it started during the rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) students. The Bubblegum alley was then established by the 1970s.
However, complains poured in that the alley was unhygienic. It was then cleaned twice the same year. But nothing stopped locals from sticking used gums on the walls, which brought back the attraction to life. Despite the innumerable issues it caused, the alley became a famous landmark amongst the locals.
Several professional artists were also inspired by the alley. Matthew Hoffman, a famous artist made a portrait of him blowing a giant chewing gum. He titled the self-portrait “Projectbubble Gum”. The picture required a lot go chewing gum, and Hoffman got it from with the help of the community. His theory was, “if an individual participates in their community they will earn an invested interest in their community. The community chewed the bubblegum, and many individuals [felt] as though they were a part of its creation. This instills a sense of stewardship in one’s community”.
Through the years, the Bubblegum Alley has been featured in television shows, news programs, and in newspapers around the world.