And now the temporary interactive art installation that celebrates candy in all its vibrant colors and flavors is coming to Houston this summer. The exhibit will open to the public on June 14 at the MARQ*E entertainment center for a limited engagement that's expected to last approximately three months.
Candytopia is the brainchild of Jackie Sorkin, the so-called Hollywood Candy Queen and Food Network regular, and executed by event designer and fabricator Zac Hartog. It made its debut in Santa Monica in 2018 and has held court at temporary pop-ups in top cities across the country. Currently, it's in residence in Atlanta and Dallas.
Candytopia features more than one dozen rooms with larger-than-life interactive art installations and full sensory experiences.
Candytopia is a cross between a candy shop and an art exhibit, and has been met with the same kind of crazy-ass lines and furor that surrounded tours such as the Houston Museum of Fine Art's blockbust van Gogh exhibition.
It's priced like a museum exhibit, too — $28 for adults, $20 for kids aged four to 12, and free for kids three and under. They go on sale at noon CDT on Tuesday, May 28 via candytopia.com and are expected to sell out quickly.
Because of its interactive nature, they limit participants to small groups, about 50. There's a pink velvet rope and staffers in blue jumpsuits who show you the drill.
The installation has numerous rooms and "experiences," along with bowls of samples to take such as candy bracelets and Pixie Stix. There are vibrant sculptures made entirely of candy, plus colorful, interactive tableaus that provide backdrops for photo opps galore.
Environments include everything from the confetti room, featuring flying unicorn pigs that "fart" confetti, to a "marshmallow pit" made of faux marshmallows — basically a pool of "marshmallows" you jump into and submerge yourself.
While the candy aspect gives it a kiddy vibe, there's artistry that targets adults, with candy paintings of the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh's The Starry Night, and pop cultural touchstones such as Prince and a portrait of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.
The Atlanta exhibit has a giant Sphinx made of 7,800 candy pieces; a 360-pound dragon made of 125,000 pieces of licorice, sours, and rock candy; and clocks filled with chocolate truffles hanging from the ceiling.
But each city's Candytopia features items that are unique to the city's culture. The Dallas exhibit included a massive cow head and a Big Tex to represent the State Fair of Texas; Houstonians can likely expect something with a space theme and nods to local sports teams.
"We like to think of ourselves as the new traveling circus," Sorkin told CultureMap Dallas in April. "We break down and pack up over a dozen semi-trucks and move to our next secret location."
Eric Sandler contributed to this article.