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“Kook” back in right place, right time

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA – What goes up must come down, it seems, and the statue known as the Cardiff “Kook” has been restored to his rightful time and place.
“I saw it on Saturday…and I saw the big crowd and I said, ‘Wow, look at that,'” said Carlsbad resident Erik Hasburgh.
He came down Monday afternoon with his mom Jean to look at the latest production, but when they arrived, they found it had all been removed.
“I saw it on the news,” Jean said. “I loved everything; loved the ‘Surfing Madonna’; loved everything they put up.”
Hasburgh praised the creativity that the artists showed in putting up the display, but he also praised the City of Encinitas for allowing it to remain up over the weekend.
“It is something that you’re not supposed to do, but they turned the other cheek for the weekend,” he said.
“One of the wonderful things about this country is the freedom of expression…if they leave it up for three days, two days, one day…I just feel sorry for the artists…they said they were planning this for months.”
The Cardiff “Kook” statue, as it’s affectionately become known as, has been swallowed by a killer shark, has taken on the iconic appearance of the “Surfing Madonna” and has, since Friday night, become ensnared in the talons of a prehistoric pterodactyl.
In what has become a tradition of dressing up the statue formally titled “Magic Carpet Ride,” by artist Matthew Antichevich, many who happened to be driving along Coast Highway 101 had to stop, take a photo and share in latest fun the statue offered.
“It brings people together,” said Mary Hayes, an Oceanside resident who travels the highway twice a day on her commute to work. “How long do people really stand still looking at anything anymore?”
Hayes and her husband George drove down from Oceanside, hoping that it would still be up. “I know by tomorrow morning it’ll probably be gone,” Mary said.
She also said the shark was hard to beat, but that she thinks the artists did so this time. “This is so elaborate, and the thought that went into this…everybody’s probably ‘uh-oh, they’re at it again,’ but definitely a lot of people would have to look the other way in order for them to make a production like this. This is by far the most elaborate production they’ve done,” she added.
“This is way better than the shark,” said Debbie Simons. “I was just admiring the backdrop and the artwork and everything that went into it. It’s fantastic.”
She and her husband Bernie frequent the area often to see how the statue is dressed.
“My favorite was the ‘Surfing Madonna’ but this one clearly takes it,” Simons added.
Cindy Becerra, a Carmel Valley resident, came by to see the latest production while in the area. “This is one of the best ones, so far,” she said. “The clown one was one of my favorites, because it was such a parody,” she added.
T-shirts featuring a wire frame image of the pterodactyl model were expected to go on sale Saturday at the Seaside Market, said a source familiar with the production. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Casa de Amparo, an organization that works to treat and prevent child abuse and neglect, based in Oceanside.
The statue was erected in 2007 near San Elijo State Beach on Coast Highway 101 as a gift of the Cardiff 101 Chamber and the Cardiff Botanical Society.
A full behind-the-scenes look at the making of the latest display may be found at korduroy.tv.