Cal Expo seeks sponsors to mount giant Disney letters

6:30 PM, Apr 12, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Installation of 'CALIFORNIA' letters a costly, complex prospect
  • The giant letters stood in front of Disney's California Adventure for a decade

SACRAMENTO, CA - Spelling the name "CALIFORNIA" isn't as simple as it might seem when each letter weighs as much as 13,000 pounds.

Disney donated the 10 cast concrete letters to Cal Expo last year as part of its makeover of the California Adventure theme park, but did not offer to pay for the letters to be installed in Sacramento.

PHOTOS: Huge and heavy 'CALIFORNIA' letters

Cal Expo is now seeking one or more sponsors to pick up the cost of mounting the iconic letters at the state fairgrounds, which could run as high as $100,000.

Cal Expo marketing and public relations director Michelle Prater said they have roughly 30 days to raise the money if they hope to have the letters in place for the opening of the 160th California State Fair on July 12.

The nearly 12-foot-high letters stood in front of California Adventure for a decade and were a favorite spot for park visitors to have their pictures taken.

Last fall the letters were carefully placed onto three flatbed trucks provided free of charge by carnival concessionaire Butler Amusements and they've been lying flat on top of steel storage containers since their arrival at Cal Expo.

Cal Expo deputy manager Paul Gillingham, who supervised the transportation, said that's exactly the way Disney stored them in Anaheim.

The letters have a combined weight of 87,328 pounds. 

The "C" and the "O" are the tallest at 11 feet 8 inches.  The rest are 11 feet 6 inches tall.

The two "A" letters are the widest, just short of 7 feet.  All 10 letters are a foot-and-a-half thick.

Gillingham said they've identified a couple of potential sites for the attraction outside the main gate to mimic the way Disney displayed them at California Adventure.

"We want people to be able to see the letters and get their picture taken around something that's very iconic about California," he said.

Gillingham said a proposal to place the letters along Exposition Boulevard was scrapped out of fear that people would stop in traffic to take pictures.

Geology and engineering firms will be consulted to determine the proper footing for the display.

"Given the size and weight of these letters, the installation requires significant analysis," Prater said.

Rocklin soil engineer Mark Gilbert is donating his services and Cal Expo is seeking other professionals who would be willing to do the same to keep costs down.

Prater said money raised for the project would be channeled through Friends of the Fair, Cal Expo's corporate sponsorship partner.

by George Warren,


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