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Bubblegum Alley

Art can have various forms, and the residents of San Luis Obisco have found a new one


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Once you cross this alley, you may feel shocked. What happened to these walls? Yes, they are completely covered with bubble gum. Well, if you are an easily disgusted person, never walk along this alley and be sure not to touch these walls. The Bubblegum Alley is lined with a thick layer of over-chewed bubble gum, stuck along the walls. It stretches for 21 meters (70 feet) with 4.5 m (15-foot) high walls.

For some it may be a disgusting place, but for others it is a local tourist landmark. Bubblegum Alley is located in downtown San Luis Obispo. There are several versions of when and who started the idea first. Some believe that this tradition started as a graduating class event of San Luis Obispo High School, right after the WWII. Others say it started in the late 1950s as a rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and Cal Poly students. Anyway, by 1970s Bubblegum Alley was already fulfilled. But some citizens complained because of the alley, as it was unsanitary and disgusting, thus the alley was fully cleaned. The wall survived after two full cleanings and still exists.

Some locals consider the alley as a form of art. Some see the shapes, words, faces and even flowers made of gum. You can also see the phrases, like "I love SLO" in different colors and sizes. Thoughts are different, but the alley is there, attracting new passers-by to watch or even add a missing piece to the walls.

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