I round a corner inside the extravagantly decorated Sugar Rush, and come upon a walkway that is completely and utterly pink. Pink swirls are painted on the ground; pink, polka-dotted backdrops create makeshift walls; pink, cotton-candy deer figures greet guests; giant, pink lollipops erupt from the pink, cotton-candy lawn; and a dapper, pink-suited gentleman cheerfully interacts with attendees. A tutu-clad woman with neon green hair dances on her tip-toes over to me. She laughs, giddy, from behind her colorful protective mask, then mimes taking a handful of cotton candy from a nearby deer and eating it. She asks me if I like cotton candy, and I say I do. She dances in excitement and takes another handful of cotton-candy deer tail, offering it to me. I thank this sprite before taking the imaginary treat and eating it – delicious!
Experiential Supply Co has proven they know how to put on delightful, drive-thru events (Hauntoween, WonderLAnd), and are now trying their hand at a COVID-safe walk-through experience with Sugar Rush. Housed in the Woodland Hills AMC parking lot, Sugar Rush has small, private groups of masked, socially-distant guests proceed on foot through the larger-than-life candy installations and scenery, and interact with a variety of performers. After the structured walk-through portion of the event, guests are treated to a sealed bag of wrapped candy that they can enjoy in the picnic area – outdoor tables, swing sets, and a few more photo ops – at their leisure. Sugar Rush can take anywhere from 15-40 minutes to walk through, depending on how long parties want to enjoy the scenery; I found myself dancing and taking pictures for around 40 minutes from start to finish.
Sugar Rush is separated into several sections, with many highlighting a certain type of confectionary delight – gummy bears, peppermints, ice cream, and chocolate, among others. The chosen treats are on display in colorful sets with large inanimate props. For example: chocolate mountains, an oversized bag of popcorn, a parade float adorned with desserts, or a red carpet backdrops featuring candies. The sections are brought to life even further with expert sound and lighting design. The colorful lights often dance to jaunty music playing over the speakers of the experience. The firework lights are especially pretty and almost had me wondering if they were real; the only sure tell was the lack of BOOM. If times were safer and masks weren’t required, it could have been a bonus for Sugar Rush to add in smells, pumping scents like peppermint or caramel into their respective sections – much like some haunts do. However, even as it stands, each segment of Sugar Rush offers something to amaze and delight guests.
While the majority of the experience focuses on candy, like the name Sugar Rush suggests, some iconography stands out for not fitting the theme. After sections devoted to honey and lollipops, popcorn and cake, they become less about candy-candy and more about eye-candy. A neon galaxy, a row of empty houses with rose walls, a jungle animal scene, and Poseidon/Neptune in the ocean are lovely and worthy of being seen, but they don’t fit with the sugary through-line.
Sugar Rush does an amazing job of immersing and engaging guests. While participants cannot physically interact with the scenes or props, being on foot instead of in a car increases the wonder and awe. The open-air space is large enough that guests can snap photos of pretty much any set or prop without being obstructed by fellow attendees. Being on foot, surrounded by larger-than-life candy installations and set pieces, makes the whole experience feel more intimate and magical. It creates the feeling of stumbling into a variety of new worlds and exploring them up close. Throughout my time in Sugar Rush, I was able to interact with several performers one-on-one, take my time dancing through the scenery, and take loads of pictures of the stunning installations. And with distance and some extra time between other small groups, I almost felt as if I had the joyful experience to myself.
Friendly performers wander Sugar Rush in character to actively engage with guests, and some are set up on stages to perform for passersby. Guests might dance or chat with fairy-like sprites, watch an animator perform on stage, or wave to a gymnast as they show off their incredible talents. The characters are great to interact with, and they encourage guests to be as creative as the Sugar Rush environment. One pink-suited performer asked me to name the zebra statue so they can add it to canon – check to see if it’s named “Stan” if you go (I never claimed to be good with names!). Another sequined dancer playfully danced with the shifting lights on the ground. Each performer brought ample energy to the event.
COVID PRECAUTIONS: Experiential Supply Co’s first walk-through experience, Sugar Rush requires all participants to wear masks, get a temperature check upon arrival, and sign an online COVID waiver. Tickets are limited and timed to ensure social-distancing. Guests are not allowed to interact with the props, but hand sanitizer is available in several areas, and all performers are masked and keep a distance. With the large, open-air space and careful limits on the number of guests inside, I felt very safe throughout the experience.
Experiential Supply Co continuously puts on well-executed and delightful, family-friendly events – Sugar Rush is no exception. The whimsical and sugary scenery will excite guests young and old, and the intimate nature created by the safety procedures also makes Sugar Rush a perfect date night. After a year of staying inside, Sugar Rush is a bright and hopeful event that is sure to bring some sweetness this spring.
Find more information on Sugar Rush on their website, and purchase tickets HERE. Follow Experiential Supply Co on Facebook and Instagram. For more immersive events, check out our Event Guide and special Remote Experiences Guide.
Photography by Eric Boguslavsky